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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Letters: Anarchy: cui bono

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Dear editor,

The peoples’ act of promoting and protecting their interests is in a state of flux, gaining momentum from sit-in strikes by the organized labour (trade unions) targeted at central government to the trendy mass occupation of the premises of public institutions.

The recent civil disobedience by the citizenry that targeted the local governance apparatus has evidently had its unintended consequences; unscrupulous rampaging.

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The public debate, or the debate on social media if you will, that ensued before and after the civil disobedience centred on the right of the citizenry to demonstrate and vent their grievances and the absolute right of the Anti-Crime Police (riot police) to show their presence firstly as a deterrence, and secondly to maintain law and order.

What became apparent was that many people view the presence of the Police anywhere and at every occasion to be intimidatory, and I believe this conviction of many is rightly justified, given the heavy-handed resolve of the Police in exercise of monopoly of crime prevention and maintenance of law and order.

In the event of anarchy and consequent loss of life and limb, we should be inclined to beg the question; at whose detriment and peril? My submission, from a security perspective, is that the country’s economy stands at grave peril, and strategic national infrastructure is at risk.

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The politicians will undoubtedly benefit from the social disobedience and therefore revel in their own limelight. However, it is thankless to be blissful about the mere fact of bringing the local governance apparatus to its knees, or reckoning with the abhorrent brute force of the agents of law and order.

Rather, a paradigm shift focusing on how to make local governance work should now be, if it has not already taken centre stage, at the front burner of all public discourse.

Change does not only come mainly through modernization and increasing efficiency, but through increasing effectiveness as well.

The Gambia’s enlightenment epoch is nigh.

This implies that we must embrace the virtues of reason and peace building in furtherance of the public good, rather than resorting to rioting as a platform to solve problems.

Joseph P Jassey, Capt (rtd)
Former Governor, LRR




IGP must explain non-uninformed armed men at demo

Dear editor,

Attorney General Ba Tambadou, Interior Minister Ebrima Mballow and IGP Mamour Jobe,on Wednesday it felt like I was watching a street scene right out of for Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa’s Central African Republic CAR; chaos, lawlessness and complete ineptitude.

In my CAR eyes, everything seemed so familiar, burning tires, stone throwing, general unruliness; what I didn’t see were machetes, but I saw something far deadlier; automatic weapons.

What most caught my attention were the pictures of armed civilians or people in civilian clothes with deadly weapons seemingly bolstering police patrols.

That took me by complete surprise, since no one goes to public protests armed highly deadly automatic weapons.

It just doesn’t happen in a civilized country adhering to the law and the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t put any precondition on demonstrations and protests, as they’re Constitutional and legal, and integral part of dissent in a democracy.

But that’s not the worst part.

That has to be the shady figures in civilian clothes brandishing automatic weapons.

How did this happen? More importantly, who thought this was a good idea? This breaks all the rules of good governmenance.

The purpose of government is to create order out of the chaos of different interests. But employing civilians in government security, rather, than those trained in the art of crowd control, has no legal basis; in fact, it might be illegal and criminal.

This insults the Gambian people, the law of the land, and our Constitution.

It’s very scary when ordinary citizens become lawless; it’s something at another level craziness when government becomes lawless.

Gambians are owed an explanation as to who these mysterious characters, armed to the teeth, are, why they’re involved in crowd control, why these armed gangs of walk the street menacingly, and who armed them. Gambians deserve to know.

But regardless of the answers to these nagging questions, in a democracy, Interior Minister Mballow & IGP Jobe should to step down, or be forced out, and if Adama Barrow and Ba Tambedou too knew about it, and gave a nod to it, they too must leave. Gambian law already decided who is legally authorized to be armed for the collective public safety and security.

Mathew K Jallow

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