UDP urges IGP to compensate No To Alliance

Feb 21, 2024, 11:42 AM

The United Democratic Party has accused the Gambia Police Force for using “disproportionate force”, on a fundraising event organised by the No To Alliance group, and thus called on the Inspector General of The Gambia Police to “unreservedly apologise” to the organisers of the event and to compensate for any injury inflicted on individuals or damage caused to property.

The Party states:

“The United Democratic Party has learned with great dismay of the disruption, using disproportionate force, on a fundraising event organised by the group, NO TO ALLIANCE which has five elected National Assembly Members serving in the Legislature.

The UDP calls on the IGP to unreservedly apologise to the organisers of the event and to compensate for any injury inflicted on individuals or damage caused to property; it is unpardonable that on the most solemn day in the nations calendar, the Gambia Police would resort to the use of violence to disperse citizens who are engaged in activities that have already been approved by the Gambia Police Force. This runs contrary to accepted norms in a democratic society.

It is baffling that barely 2 days after the much talked about and publicised National Dialogue to sanitize Gambian politics, which would ensure that there is determination on the part of everyone to work for the unity and stability of the nation, the Gambia Police Force would use teargas to disperse a peaceful gathering of citizens, on a day that the Independence anniversary of the country was being celebrated.

A ‘National Dialogue’ is meaningful only within the context of democratic pluralism where all organs and agents of the State act within the ambit of the Constitution and are guided by the rule of law.

To be clear, this is not the first time that the Gambia Police Force has used excessive force to disperse peaceful assemblies of citizens. One instant was firing teargas into the crowd assembled outside my residence in December 2021. There are several other cases, but suffice it to say policing in a democratic republic requires a skill set and tools different from that of an authoritarian state.

UDP respectfully urges the security forces and public servants to honour their oaths of office and to faithfully serve the constitution and laws of The Gambia without fear or favour, ill will, or affection. The mantra of the TRRC “NEVER AGAIN” must mean that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and injustice anywhere is the indisputable agent of instability.

Therefore, it is our collective responsibility to safeguard the state and to secure all life, liberty, and equal protection of the law. As a nation, we can not say we shall engage in dialogue to cleanse our politics and immediately thereafter attack a rival political group with teargas.

In conclusion, UDP wishes all Gambians a happy and peaceful 59th Independence Anniversary.”

A.N.M. Ousainu Darbo