CSOs: Barrow remarks is an “insult to our intelligence” as nation

May 9, 2022, 11:17 AM | Article By: Momodou Jawo & Adama Tine

John Charles Njie, the chairman of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), has said that President Barrow's remarks about the media fraternity in giving Madi Jobarteh a platform to incite violence is considered an “insult to our collective intelligence as a nation.”

The CSOs boss who was speaking on Friday during a press conference at the TANGO premises, said: “Furthermore, the President roping in civil society in his statement, reminds us vividly of the days of dictatorship during which we, Civil Society were branded enemies of the state and the nation’s development.”

Dozens of CSOs heads who attended the press conference on Friday in order to show solidarity with their comrade Madi Jobarteh wore T-shirts with inscription: ‘Never Again’.

President Barrow during his traditional meeting with Banjul Muslims Elders at State House in Banjul claimed that “some people want to burn the country, one of them is Madi Jobarteh, he said he’s from Civil Society.” Meanwhile, the CSOs through it’s chair said, accusing a hard-working citizen for intending to set the nation ablaze, cause chaos, ‘fitna’ without an iota of evidence is to say the least sad. Njie further reminded the president that Gambians are not going back to the days of tyranny.

“Civil Society has not forgotten and that is why we come today; to the home of NGOs and CSOs, TANGO to demonstrate our distaste at such remarks, unbecoming of a statesman. We come to remind our leaders that ‘the horse has already bolted from the stable. Gambians are not going back to the days of tyranny. Never Again”

“We gather in peace today to highlight and express our grave concern over the blatant attack on our fundamental rights and freedoms, by the highest office in the land. Have Gambians forgotten so quickly how Yahya Jammeh started? How he branded anyone that spoke against him as an enemy of the state and how he used the state machinery to instill fear and eventually silence us?”

“Have we forgotten how people started disappearing? Have we forgotten the dark period in our history that even in the privacy of our homes, we had to look over our shoulders before saying anything about the Government? Dictatorship indeed has a start date.”

John Charles Njie maintained that every citizen has an inherent right to criticize its government and that right must be protected and not threatened or taken away.

“The people defied all odds to elect you into office Mr. President and the people will do all in their power to guard against the infringement of their rights in any shape or form.”

Njie further reminds the President of what he describes as a plethora of issues and challenges that the nation faces that are a more potent force to set the nation alight, “that we want our government to address than attack its citizens.”

“The increased corruption allegations without transparent investigations and prosecutions, high cost of living, poor service delivery by Public Institutions, erratic power supply and internet connectivity, coupled with their outrageous charges, growing crime rate and fatal car accidents, high unemployment rate and so on. The poor are getting poorer and public servants continue to erect mansions and allocate land to themselves. The people are watching.”

The president, his cabinet and the government, he continues, must recommit themselves to guarantee ‘the continued protection of our rights to speech, expression and assembly’. “Let us work together to build our dear motherland. With the new cabinet in place, this is an opportunity to begin afresh to move The Gambia forward,” he concluded.

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