Interior minister urges safeguard of peace, democracy

Thursday, August 01, 2019

In the wake of two deaths – the killings of UTG student Kebba Secka and Ousman Darboe, a vendor at Serrekunda market, the minister of the Interior has advised the public to desist from taking the law into their own hands, pointing out that mob justice and or self initiated justice have no place in our national laws.

He added that it is imperative for the Gambian population to note that we, “Government and citizens alike must work hand in hand to nurture our new found freedoms. Democracy does not mean doing or saying anything you like. All and sundry must observe the rule of law to safeguard the peace and democracy every Gambian and non-Gambian alike are enjoying,” he wrote in a statement sent to The Point.

“In light of the above, the Public is advised to desist from such violent and unlawful activities that can undermine the peace, security and stability of our dear nation that is reeling from 22 years of violence and dictatorship.”

“The Ministry further reminds the public that The Gambia is governed by a Constitution and that the Government of The Gambia seeks to promote a culture of rule of law. Laid down procedures for all activities that are to be undertaken by either individuals or group of people in a public space, including protests must follow due processes key to which is requesting for and obtaining a permit via the competent authority (The Office of the Inspector General of Police). The thinking behind this is to ensure the protesters have security, that the process is orderly while at the same time protecting other Gambians and their properties in case things get out of hand.”

“Ousman’s unfortunate and sad death led to violent protests in the Serrekunda Market, Bijilo, Bertil Harding Highway and other areas within the Greater Banjul Area resulting in sporadic looting and violent attacks against innocent Gambians on Wednesday, July 24. Protesters also attacked the offices of the Anti-crime Unit and subsequently burnt the house of Commissioner Mboob, the Head of The Anti-crime Unit.”

“While we sympathise with the bereaved family and are deeply saddened by Ousman’s death, we appeal for calm, patience and understanding as the investigators meticulously probe the circumstances leading to his death.”

“Unfortunately, while demonstrations against alleged police complicity in Mr. Darboe’s death were raging in the KMC area, another tense demonstration was taking place against allegations of financial corruption and incompetence directed at the Brikama Area Council. In both places, the security forces had to intervene to keep the peace and restore calm.”

“It is against this unpleasant picture fostering its ugly head in our young democracy, that we sincerely appeal against all acts of vandalism and looting as they are unlawful, violent, inhumane and potentially dangerous. If police stations and private properties are vandalised and looted, it is the Gambian people that bear the brunt and everybody will be a loser.”