Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) leader, Mamma Kandeh, has strongly condemned the arrest and detention of party members on Sunday, saying the era of arbitrary arrest and intimidation is over.
“We will not be cowed nor will we sit idly by to watch this orchestrated effort to thwart the will of the people of Jimara,” he said in a statement seen by this reporter.
Seven party representatives and their family members were arrested over the weekend in Basse before being released on bail and asked to report on Monday. GDC MP for Jimara, Hon. Alhagie Sowe, and newly elected councilor, Manneh, and others appeared before and charged with incitement to violence and criminal trespass.
Mamma Kandeh said GDC will take all legal actions necessary to defend its representatives. “GDC will seek justice on their behalf against those who have sought to deny their rights for nefarious political motives,” he warned.
In an attempt to set the record straight, Kandeh further stated that the incident that led to what he termed as “unlawful arrests” of the GDC reps was caused by the actions of United Democratic Party (UDP) supporters “who are unable or unwilling to accept the fact that voters in Jimara exercised their democratic right to choose a GDC councillor to represent them in Julangel ward.”
Throwing a jab at the law enforcement body, GDC leader decried the fact that the police failed to take account of both sides of the story upon their arrival at the scene of the incident.
He said the enforcement action mounted by the police targeted GDC reps, adding that if they are found guilty it would prevent them from taking up office as elected representatives.
“This is a politically-motivated act designed to instil fear in our elected representatives and in our supporters. GDC therefore condemns these illegal arrests in the strongest terms possible,” Kandeh said.
Mamma Kandeh seized the opportunity to reiterate GDC commitment to rule of law and democratic principles of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
“GDC wll always defend these rights against any person or institution wishing to deny Gambians of these rights,” he voiced out.
Written by Abdoulie JOHN