The Centre for Research and Policy Development has issued a statement blasting President Adama Barrow over his threat to ban all political activities after the December 4 presidential election.
In a statement, the group said: “In recent months, President Barrow has used the State House grounds to make inconsiderate and ill-advised remarks that are not only exacerbating social tensions in the country but also threatening to undermine the democratic gains made so far. Some readers would recall that on 28th July 2021, President Barrow was streamed live by the Barrow Media Empowerment during which the President revealed how he was part of a group that buried amulets and fetishes locally called Jujus under the head of dead bodies in graveyards, in order to spiritually expedite the release of UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, Barrow’s political godfather at the time, who was languishing in jail in 2016. As the presidential election gets closer, President Barrow has been inviting to State House members of the various ethno-linguistic groups in the county to rally support for his bid for re-election. And most of President Barrow’s political rhetoric and rants have been directed at his former Party, United Democratic Party (UDP).
“The CRPD is dismayed and also troubled by President Barrow’s statement and therefore, calling on him to adhere to democratic principles and the rule of law. President Barrow must be reminded that among other things, he was elected on the basis of ending self-perpetuating rule and to return this country to a functioning democratic state.
“Consequently, his latest threat to restrict and regulate the democratic space after the forthcoming Presidential Election is undemocratic and against the very principle under which he was elected in 2016. President Barrow’s remarks are regrettable as they pose a risk for Gambia’s fledgling democracy. Therefore, we call on President Barrow to be mindful of his seemingly populist statements and instead focus on bridging the social divide in the country. His latest statement will undoubtedly further exacerbate the political polarization and divisions in the country, ahead of the December Presidential Election.
“As a civil society organization, the CRPD states that it is ever ready to defend, through civic actions and legal means, the democratic space in the Gambia against any threat that has the potential to undermine or compromise the Gambia’s democratic process.”