Democracy is participatory. This simply means that everyone in the country has a role to play in the development process of the country. For that reason, everyone is given and guaranteed certain rights and freedoms. It is the duty of the government not only to grant these rights, but to protect them at all costs. It is not enough to say that no one is/will be arrested wrongfully, or no one will be stopped from exercising his/her rights, government has the duty to protect those who exercise their rights even if it is about something you don’t agree with.
Your government is failing in this responsibility, and woefully for that matter. First the government’s refusal to grant permission to the #OccupyWestfield protesters was wrong because it denied Gambians the right to protest and express their dissatisfaction with a particular government department. This was wrong and decried by many in the country.
Secondly Mr President, Dr Ismaela Ceesay made some comments and he was arrested and detained for more than three hours. What kind of democracy do we have if someone can be arrested for simply airing his opinion? This type of behavior is not expected in a democratic country. We must shed the dictatorial tendencies if we are truly serious about democracy.
Now, the arrest of the Gunjur Six is taking the dictatorial tendency to a whole new level. What kind of government prevents citizens from expressing concern, by demonstrating peacefully to bring to light an act of injustice which has the potential to harm thousands of Gambians?
In the first place, the problem in Gunjur represents a failure on the part of the government. Government is supposed to be the protectors of the people and as such, if something that can harm the health of the people is being done, it falls squarely on the shoulders of government to make sure that that activity stops.
The people of Gunjur and many concerned Gambians have repeatedly spoken and written about the Gunjur problem. What did your government do? You went right ahead and renewed the license of the Chinese Company!
The people who are protesting there are patriotic Gambians exercising their inalienable rights to protest. This is part of democracy and should be commended instead of condemned. History is recording, and we are watching!
#Release the Gunjur Six. Now!
Have a good day Mr President.