The chaos that occurred in Mankamang Kunda and Busumbala represents a monumental failure on the part of the government of the Gambia. The primary duty of a government is to protect the lives and properties of its citizens. On that front, the government has woefully failed the citizens of those two environs.
Given the situation we emerged from recently, one would have thought that the government will understand the dire need for security and make adequate arrangements to ensure that whoever wished to hold a gathering [whatever the kind] will be provided adequate security to ensure that violence never erupts in the first place. Waiting until the chaos begins and rushing with haphazard [some say wrong] measures was not the least expected from the government.
Even someone who does not know anything about security could have predicted that a convoy of the APRC passing through certain areas in this country could trigger violence and a disturbance of the peace. As such, the government (which has – or should have – all the resources and tools to gather information) could have – and should have – anticipated what happened and then put measures in place to prevent violence and a disturbance of the peace by providing adequate security officers to tour the country with the party.
Having failed in that duty, the government went ahead through the Gambia Police Force to suspend all political activities in the country. This move in itself is a violation of the rights of the citizens. The total suspension of political activities can – should – only be done by declaring a State of Emergency; which again can only be warranted by a threat to national security.
Besides, the measure of deploying armed soldiers in residential areas will just add fuel to the fire of fear and anxiety, as it were. This situation is a political and requires a political situation. Government should play its leadership role so as to avert any recurrence of the disturbances.
The maintenance of peace is as important – and difficult – as attaining it.