(JollofNews) – I am in excruciating distress and pain at what is happening to our people in the Gambia. A country that is so closely knit that we call it One Big Family.
Gambia no problem. Why then should so much pain and fear engulf our lives? Why do we inflict so much harm and pain on each other? Why should our State be a source of pain and hatred and not an inspiration and patriotism for our people? I am angry. I am sad. I am in pain.
I demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ousainou Darboe and his colleagues and all cases of violations investigated thoroughly so that justice is done as soon as possible.
The Gambia needs change urgently. We must have freedom in our lives and society. Today and tomorrow. That is non-negotiable. And more than any other individual or institution, it is the president and the government that bears the primary responsibility by law and our political dispensation to protect the rights and freedoms of Gambians.
The people who protested have a right to protest and it is utterly wrong for anyone to arrest them in any way. The use of violent force by the security forces is criminal and wrong.
As Sankara said a soldier or a civil servant without political education is a virtual criminal. I call on the security forces to recognise and protect the right of Gambians.
The security forces bear a legal and political duty to respect and protect the rights of citizens in all circumstances. The security forces must exercise restraint and realize that ultimately each and every one of them is individually responsible for his or her own actions.
There will be accountability sooner or later hence it is necessary that all Gambians particularly
public servants and security persons to check their decisions and actions for posterity.
The demand for electoral reforms and greater respect and protection of rights in the Gambia is a legitimate and legal and moral necessity and rightly genuine. Those who call for these damands are patriots that love their country and they deserve our respect and urgent protection.
I call on the president of the sovereign secular Republic of the Gambia as well as the speaker of the National Assembly and the Chief Justice as per the powers vested in them by Section 17 of our constitution to cause the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and investigate all cases of violation.
Ultimately the youth must realize that what is happening is about their present and future. It is your society and your life and your future. Young people cannot be bystanders and doubters. Young people must empower themselves to take the necessary leadership to correct the wrongs in our lives and our society.
Self inflicted fear and doubts are a demonstration of irresponsibility. As Fanon said, each generation must discover it’s mission, to fulfill or betray.
Forward to the Gambia.
by Madi Jobarteh
The author is the programme manager of The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in the Gambia (TANGO)