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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Give more prominence to Independence than July 22 – Minority leader

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Speaking in an exclusive with The Standard on Monday at his National Assembly office, Mr Samba Jallow said: “If we talk about President Jammeh’s 20 years in power, I think we should first think how Jammeh came to power. They are celebrating 20 years of the revolution. The question is whether July 22 is a constitutional issue for the Gambia. They make July 22nd  more important than our Independence Day celebrations. If you compare how Independence Day is celebrated in the first republic and how it is celebrated in the second republic it is quite different. July 22nd revolution is given more prominence in celebration than the independence and that should not be the case. 

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“We should be objective in our analyses of Jammeh’s 20 years in power. To be frank, the APRC government has registered some degree of development. Yes, if they said they are celebrating some form of development, someone can appreciate it but for me the question remains whether the celebration is constitutional or not. They toppled a democratically elected government and after two years of transition, people voted them into power through elections. Definitely, within these 20 years, there has been development in the country compared to the first republic. Yes, I have to be frank to myself as an opposition, the government has registered development, numerous schools and hospitals have been built. I always want to be objective as opposition. The APRC has achieved something worth celebrating. 

 “But there are lapses. Since 1994 to date, the dalasi has never appreciated significantly against international currencies. The dalasi was very strong in the first republic compared to today. The dalasi is depreciating against major international currencies. 

“On human rights, we have seen people being detained without trial, which is against the constitution. Detention is persistent in this country. Security of tenure in jobs is another problem in this country.

Today you sack a minister and tomorrow you reinstate him or her. There should be security of tenure for government officers, meaning you cannot sack anybody without due process of the law.

“But the opposition parties should unite if they want to make it; if they fail to unite then Jammeh will continue to stay in power. For the sake of The Gambia, there should be no enmity between opposition and ruling party. The ruling party should understand that the opposition are not enemies but partners in development. For NRP, our party, we have been applying for permits to hold meeting but the state has denied us without giving any reasons.”

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