Gambian human rights activists and rappers convened a successful demonstration on Sunday. The venue for the protest was at the busy West field intersection. The protesters have sent a strong message to the Barrow led Coalition government. They strongly denounced what they called the growing culture of impunity and official corruption in the country.
The protest, which was self-styled “ DAFA DOY” in the Wollof dialect, meaning in English Enough is Enough, featured high profile Gambian rappers. A new anti-corruption diss song was released by the protesting rappers against the Barrow government. The song talks about the growing culture of corruption in Barrow’s administration. The rappers also raised the issue of police brutality, and the regime’s alleged disrespect for human rights.
Also prominent on the viral single diss track, was the regime’s alleged lack of environmental friendless. The rappers also lamented about the regime’s broken promises to the Gambian electorate and Barrow’s inability to steer the affairs of the nation.
The DAFA Doy diss track had the appearances of different Gambian rappers. Among them includes Killa Ace, alias Ali Cham. Mr. Cham led the cheering crowd into singing the DAFA DOY diss track against Barrow’s regime.
One of the female rappers raised the nation’s acute water and electricity shortages in the four minutes long DAFA DOY song. The issue of high gas prices at the pump, and high cost of living was also on the rappers mind. Gambia’s decayed infrastructure was also on the agenda. The rappers said there no good roads in the Gambia; coupled with lack of competent leadership.
Officials in Barrow’s government including Barrow himself, have been accused of living the life of Flamboyant lifestyle in that damning song. The regime, according to the song, has abdicated its duties and responsibilities to the Gambian population. They said public officials are only concerned about themselves and families.
The rappers also wondered about the whereabouts of the millions of dollars the regime secured from donor partners since coming to power. Such funds, they said, haven’t reflected in the lives of Gambians and the country’s socio-economic developmental agenda.
Addressing the procession, Alieu Bah, one of the organizers of the protest said, they are determined to take over their country from the current crop of failed politicians. Bah called on Gambian youths to assume their civic and constitutional duties by holding the regime accountable. He opined that “we are living in a dangerous time” adding for the sake of history Gambian youths shouldn’t watch by allow the current administration to wreck the ship of the state. Bah notes that it is incumbent upon all Gambians to ensure that the country is governed within the tenets of democracy and good governance.
Forces of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMIG) arrived at the venue of the demonstration in the early hours of Sunday. They were fully armed. Personnel of the Gambian armed forces, including some agents of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) were also at the protest.
The Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang had a meeting with the organizers of the protest prior to the demonstration. She was concerned about the issue of security. She used the meeting to call on the organizers to remain peaceful during the protest.
Also, in attendance at Sunday’s protest was Lizzie Eunson. Ms. Euson praised the protesters for their loved for country and justice. She said she was advised not to attend the protest, but notwithstanding, she defied the advice. She said she has decided to stand in solidarity with the protesting Gambian youths. Ms. Eunson has called for an end to sand mining, and destruction of Gambia’s flora and fauna. She also advocated for quality education.
Sunday’s protest was geared towards condemning the killing of the three Faraba environmental activists. This followed, a sand mining dispute in Faraba Banta, where the Julakay Engineering and Construction Company, has been accused of illegal sand mining and environmental destruction.
The protesters have issued a set of demands for the Barrow government. They have called on the regime to train Gambian security officers on human rights; provide financial compensation to the Faraba victims and the repealing of the Public Order Act. The Public Order Act requires protesters to apply for police permit before they could be allowed to use a Public-Address System (PA System).
President Adama Barrow visited Faraba over the weekend. He reassured residents of Faraba about his government’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
In his address, Madi Jobarteh, one of the protesters said, the Barrow government should be more serious in tackling corruption. He observed that the Gambia has an anti-corruption commission in 2012, but the former Jammeh regime failed to constitute the membership of commission.
“The Gambia, we have an anti-corruption commission 2012. Yahya Jammeh never set up the commission. These people came one year, six months; they have never set up that commission to fight against corruption. And corruption is the most insidious cancer that erode our rights and erode our services,” Jobarteh noted.
The Dafa Doy protesters have declared a vote of no confidence against Barrow’s government. Speakers upon speakers, have registered their dissatisfaction at the current state of affairs, and Barrow’s inability to keep Gambians safe. They lamented the country’s growing crime rate. They said murder, and violent crimes are on the increase in the Gambia.
Pa Njie Girigara, a businessman, and a former GDC Mayoral Candidate, also spoke at the protest. Njie praised the initiative taken by the protesters to communicate their frustrations to the regime in a peaceful and respectful manner. He described the event historic–given the fact that such a public demonstration has never taken place in the country for the past fifty years. He called on the government to respect human rights and the rule of law.
Some section of the corrupt and compromised Gambian so called media on the ground were conspicuously missing at the protest. Some journalists have decided to sell their souls to the powers that be in Banjul for monetary gains.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Email: [email protected]