The Diaspora chapters of the opposition UDP yesterday issued a statement expressing its support of the leadership’s decision to challenge the veracity and accuracy of the results of the December 4 presidential election.
The UDP lodged a petition at the Supreme Court seeking for the court to invalidate the results of the election due to ‘fraud, corrupt practice, and voter inducement’.
In their statement, the Diasporan UDP members said they recognise that these are “challenging moments” for the party and its principles, which are being tested by the incumbent government to “instill fear in the minds of Gambians by the use of unprovoked and illegal violence on supporters of our party.
“Furthermore, the UDP Diaspora wishes to place on record our solidarity and support to the leadership of the party as they investigate the veracity and accuracy of the results of the December 4, 2021 presidential election as declared by the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission. We stand with you and we are available to support in anyway the leadership thinks we could.”
Signed by Mboge Saidykhan, the chairman of the party’s Diaspora, the statement condemned the Gambia Police Force for the “brutal and dastardly assault” on UDP supporters who converged at the residence of party leader Ousianu Darboe earlier this month.
“…Our party supporters gathered as usual at the residence of the party leader to show solidarity. UDP faithful have always converged at our party leader’s residence in good times to celebrate and during difficult periods, and we have always done this unfettered. On December 6, 2021, it was the same tradition of assembling in front of our party leader’s house to show solidarity with the party, and there was no indication of any disturbance that threatens the peace and security of the country. Yet, unprovoked, members of the Gambia Police Intervention Unit, who were dressed in riot gears began shooting tear gas into the crowd and into the private residence of the party leader.”
Calling the actions of the PIU “unwarranted violence,” the Diaspora said Inspector General of Police, the perpetrators and the state of The Gambia must be held to account.
“This is especially necessary because a shocking video emerged showing two members of The Gambia Police Force rejoicing at the fact that they shot tear gas at UDP supporters. The two police men are heard in the video taunting and celebrating their barbaric act. Even more disappointing is the video that emerged showing Presidential Adviser Alkali Conteh, celebrating the same act of violence against UDP supporters. We therefore, believe that the police attack was premeditated and we demand swift and total accountability for the perpetrators, their commanders and those who ordered them to act the way they did.”
The Diaspora said they were putting the Inspector General of Police, the National Human Rights Commission and President Barrow and the general public on notice that “enough is enough”.
“The UDP will no longer accept any form of assault in the hands of the state and or its agents. We therefore demand full investigation into this cowardly act of violence and actions taken against the police command at the scene, the two police officers and their cheerleaders like Presidential adviser, Alkali Conteh. Accountability and taking responsibility are the first steps at ensuring fairness, justice, and peace, and we expect nothing less in this case,” the statement concluded.