Dr. Ceesay’s detention attracts withering criticism

Friday, February 02, 2018

Dr. Ismaila Ceesay’s questioning and detention by and large has attracted withering criticism and condemnation as something unfit in a democratic country like ours.

“I can’t believe I will be up again defending freedom of expression in the New Gambia. Paranoia seems to be taking a toll on someone here. But one thing is certain, a leadership that fears the opinions of its citizens will be doomed to oblivion. We will never give up and we will continue to press hard that button,” writes Gibairu Janneh, a UTG lecturer.

Dr. Ceesay’s detention by police has been condemned by many in the New Gambia as an attack on freedom of expression. In his capacity as political scientist, he made comments as he analysed them in his view concerning ECOMIG, but the police insisted that they only needed clarification.

The police said that they will carry out their functions whenever it believes under any circumstance that would amount to a threat to national security.

Dr. Ceesay, who has been critical of the Barrow administration like any political scientist, was one of the few Gambians who fought against Jammeh’s insistence to cede power by calling on the University of The Gambia lecturers to boycott lectures in demand for Jammeh to leave.

We don’t think the same Dr. Ceesay can revert his position and put Gambia in chaos after he won his fight with dignity and respect. He is a political science lecturer and The Voice Newspaper made no mistake for picking him as their choice to give opinion on the country’s security matters.

Let’s call a spade a spade; where his arrest and detention ordered by President Barrow or just the police trying to make a name for themselves? What is for sure is that it is vehemently wrong to perpetuate arrest or even questioning a university political science lecture for only giving his opinion on the country’s situation in an interview?

The government acknowledged the questioning of Dr. Ceesay, but makes no further comment (s) as whether his detention hampered the freedom of expression in some extend.

“The Government of The Gambia acknowledges that Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, a political science lecturer at the University of The Gambia was invited by the police for questioning on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, over comments in an interview granted to The Voice newspaper issue of the same day.”

Meanwhile, the university Faculty and Staff Association said his release was a victory for the country’s budding democracy and for academic freedom and freedom of expression which “we remain resolute in protecting at all cost.”

“The news of the detention of Dr Ismaila Ceesay by the police is really disturbing! Just within the twinkle of an eye, a government that came to power on the promise of freedom of expression is now exhibiting every sign of intolerance and incapability to uphold liberal values and dissenting opinions,” writes Lamin Jahateh, final year Journalism student, UTG. 

“There is nothing more foreign to a civilised and democratic system than preventive detention.”
Robert Bourassa