Newly formed Never Again Network has come hard on people it said started raining insults and all types of allegations against the network almost immediately after its launch on Saturday. A statement from the group, signed by its spokesman and national coordinator Baba Galleh Jallow, reads in full:
“Less than a week after the launching of the Never Again Network, we have noticed that some people have come out swinging, insulting us, accusing us of being criminals, mafia, cruel people bent on bringing down the government of President Adama Barrow, trying to burn down this country and of planning to form a political party. But for the sake of further informing the public of the thinking behind the Never Again Network, and for keeping a true historical record of events as they unfold, we would not have bothered to respond to these insults and baseless allegations.
First, the Never Again Network is certainly not composed of criminals, mafia or cruel people and those who label us as such are offending themselves, not us. Neither is the Network interested in bringing down President Barrow’s government or burning down the country. We know that such unjust baseless allegations are unfortunately the stock in trade of many Gambians nowadays, and one of the Network’s objectives is to help this country outgrow such vitriolic politics of hostility. The Network dreams of and will advocate a Gambia of peace, of love, of harmony and of mutual respect that will be a safe and prosperous home for our children and all future generations. We say Never Again to the politics of enmity, hostility and insults!
The Never Again Network is built upon the premise that The Gambia is one big family that must learn to embrace unity in diversity. We believe that whatever our differences – be they political, ethnic or religious – we belong to the same human family, we live in the same space, and our destinies and the destinies of our progeny are inextricably tied together. We know that we must strive to build peace and social harmony, underpinned by the principles of truth and justice for all Gambians and all persons residing on Gambian territory. Our messages to the young people will be messages of civic empowerment, but they will be laced with messages of mutual respect and civility emphasizing the sanctity of human life and human dignity. Our guiding principles declare that all human beings deserve respect and must be treated with respect, that all living things – human and non-human, deserve to be treated well, and that in our interactions among ourselves and with our fellow human beings, under all circumstances, only the truth is acceptable. We declare these principles before God and before man, and will strive to live and operate by them.
The Never Again Network has no ill intentions towards anyone and will never commit an injustice, unless inadvertently, against anyone. And where we inadvertently commit an injustice against anyone, we will be more than ready and willing to admit our error and apologize. What we set out to do is to help ensure that cruelty, impunity and deliberate injustice are things of the past in this country. For that we will work hard and our work shall be carried out through open public conversations and exchanges of knowledge and ideas with members of the Gambian family. Those who impute unworthy motives on us are free to do so, but they will be offending themselves, not us. For we know that whoever commits an injustice against another person, commits an injustice against themselves.
To those who accuse us of trying to form a political party we say, please listen carefully: If our intention was to form a political party, we would go ahead and do it right now, in accordance with the laws of the land. If at any point in the future we want to form a political party, we will go right ahead and do it in accordance with the laws of the land. We are citizens of this country and have all the right to form a political party to seek public office whenever we want. We say never again to the informal criminalization of political intentions and activities. We reserve the right to exercise and enjoy our right to freedom of association and expression, within the bounds of the law and of public morality.
Finally, the Never Again Network wishes to say to all those who are insulting us, God bless you, may you be honored and may you never be wrongly insulted. To all those who curse us, we say, God bless you and elevate you to the highest ranks of honor. The Never Again Network aspires to a Gambia of humanity, of empathy, of loving kindness and of an enlightened and empowered citizenry that will be able to prevent a recurrence of dictatorship and human rights violations in this country and that will be able to hold its government accountable. For that, we offer no apology.”