By Amadou Jadama
The Minister of Interior, Ebrima Mballow has called on leaders of the Coalition to speak to their supporters so that they can address the issue of ‘3 Years Jotna’ in the interest of peace.
Speaking to The Standard exclusively on Saturday, Mballow said: “I think there is no dispute on the three years, because three years is not the constitutional mandate and the Gambian people voted president Barrow for five years, and the document was not signed by any political leader because I saw the document myself.”
The minister however recognised that The Gambia is a democratic state where people have the right to demonstrate as long as it is peaceful and orderly.
“I still believe that the Coalition leaders have a big role to play in this and so they should come together and talk to their people to respect the rule of law and to maintain peace and stability. No one can do any meaningful politics or indeed any other activity in the absence of peace in the country”, he added.
He continued: “Even journalists have a role to play in this because you will be hiding when doing your job, reporting to the world when there is no peace. So it is our collective responsibility as the citizens of this country to ensure that peace and stability continues to reign here. This matter is simple, everyone knows that the president is voted into power for five years,”.
When asked about the alleged threats he issued at a recent Brikama rally threatening to spray hot water on would-be demonstrators the minister took a rather conciliatory tone.
“There is no one in this world who will stand and pour hot water on someone. We are all human beings and we are all Gambians and mature as well.
So we should all act according to the dictates of the law.
I am also a Gambian and I have the right of freedom of speech, and I did not say we will pour hot water on people deliberately.
I did mention the procedures and that one has to be careful and act by the dictate of the law.
I am not saying if Gambians come out we will pour hot water on them. What I mean is for them to follow the due process of the law before coming out.”
Mballow finally urged Gambians, especially the youth to continue to remain law-abiding and not allow themselves to be used by any individual or group to destabilise the peace and stability in the country.