By Omar Bah
Opposition UDP National Assembly member for Latrikunda Sabiji has expressed dissatisfaction over the timing of an anti-corruption protest planned by his party’s Youth Wing today.
The UDP Youth Wing secured a police permit to stage a protest to press the government to take issues of corruption very seriously.
But reacting to the planned protest, Honourable Yaya Sanyang said: “I don’t think any UDP National Assembly member should think the protest is staged to measure his or her competence and performance in the assembly with regards to the introduction of the anti-corruption bill. Personally, I don’t entertain the protest for the fact that it will affect some gains we made in this pre-election process. Protests are important democratic features but they should be well calculated by way of timing and manner, by putting into perspective all of its potential consequences. Some of us are putting so much effort, time, resources to achieve electoral success for the UDP in subsequent elections. Going forward, whatever message we intend to send to Gambians as a political organisation should be done by ways of house-to-house campaigns,” he said.
Hon. Sanyang urged all protesters going to the march to respect the conditions of the permit and be very vigilant.
“I urge the civil society organisations in the Gambia to lead protests like this to make the government accountable. I also urge them to join the protest and not see it as a UDP affair because corruption is affecting all of us,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UDP campaign manager Momodou Sabally said the protest has the support of the party’s central executive.
“It is a constitutional right for any Gambian to apply for a permit and hold a procession against happenings in the country. I want to urge all Gambians to avoid misconceiving the idea behind the protest because it is a peaceful procession. This is a good move for both the government and the UDP. We advise all those who are going to the protest to exercise restraint and avoid creating any tension,” he said.
He warned against any attempt to violate the conditions of the protest. “If anybody bends the roles, you should know that you are doing it at your own accord and you will be held accountable for it. We urge supporters to avoid making comments that will contravene the party leader’s statements. We are all Gambians and safeguarding the country’s interest should be everybody’s business. Let us all respect the police and follow the rules of the procession,” Sabally added.