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Opinion: Permit issued to operation 3 Years Jotna should not be restricted

Dec 16, 2019, 1:00 PM | Article By: Babucar S. Trawally

The right to protest is fundamental human rights arising out of number of recognised human rights organizations. Protesting however is not necessary violet or treat to the interest of national security or public safety. Nor is it necessary civil disobedient because most protest does not involve violating the laws of the state.

On the issue of the 3 years campaign group called “Operation 3 Years Jotna” who are advocating for His Excellency Mr. Adama Barrow the President of the Republic of The Gambia to honor his words with the 3 years agreement by the Coalition political parties and during the Presidential elections campaign in December 2016, he told Gambians when elected into office he will step down after 3 years which is due today on the 16th December 2019 but President Barrow in his concluded Meet- the People Tour said he will remain in power for 5 years according to The Gambian constitution.

As results of this misunderstanding people have different opinions with different mindset to demand justice. It does not warrant for any confrontation between the 5 years mandate group who are also supporting the president and the Operation 3 years Jotna. We are all Gambians and have the same rights  advocating for true democracy and to bring about change for national development.

The Gambian constitution 1997 on article 25 has provided rights to its citizens to participate freely on freedom to assemble and demonstrate peacefully.

Petition the executive for redress of grievances and resort to the courts for protection of his or her rights. 

Currently rumors is circulating in town the Operation 3 years Jotna had applied for a permit to peacefully protest to Banjul and petition the President to remind him of what he had said during his political Presidential campaign in 2016 but the permit only allow the group to match from the Still Corner of Bakau main high way junction and stop at the Denton Bridge in Saro.

It is not justifiable for the 3 years Jotna to be given a limited area at the Dention Bridge in Saro instead they should be allow to match up to Banjul which is the administrative capital of The Gambia in order to submit their petition to the President or the representative of the President.

According to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) the permit issued to Operation 3 years Jotna is in line with the Gambian constitution. If the permit is issued in line with the Gambian constitution, then the group should not be subjected for any restriction where as it is a peaceful protest to be escorted with securities.

If the authorities fear for any violence it is questionable because the youths of Banjul should be warn to keep the peace.  Gambians have seen recently how they reacted during the concluded meeting of the President Meet-the People Tour held in Banjul with treating words written on a banner which reads, an attack on President Barrow is an attack on Banjul.

The words of attack should not be mentioned by the youths of Banjul, an attack can only be launched when there is attack but it is a complete different thing. People should not take the law into their hands and those who cause violence no matter which group you belong to, should be prosecuted according to the law.