5th March, 2019.
Response to Gambia Government Spokesperson’s Statement on Planned Peaceful Protest Regarding Deportation of Gambians
I write on behalf of concerned Gambians and members of the Gambia Refugees Association in Europe to express our disappointment in the premature and negligent manner in which Ebrima G. Sankareh, Spokesperson of the Gambia Government responded to our press release calling on Gambians to join our proposed peaceful protest scheduled for March 7, 2019, at West Field in the Kanifing Municipality.
We expect the Gambia Government to communicate effectively and professionally on issues of national concern such as the current trend of deportation but not to use a propagandist in the person of Ebrima G. Sankareh to discriminate and castigate Gambians in the Diaspora especially migrants and refugees. This approach is ill-advised and the Government must improve on its communication strategy.
We hereby inform Gambians that Sankareh’s statement, dated 4th March, 2019, indicating that the Gambia Government has supported more than 200 Gambians to integrate successfully in Germany is inaccurate and misleading. We challenge the Government of The Gambia to provide evidence to that effect that they help any citizen with integration. In Germany, integration is handled by German social workers but not any foreign nation.
Mr. Sankareh should know his job better and stop giving false information to Gambians. Besides, the Government must stop being defensive and effectively communicate with those concerned about the deportations, especially the manner in which they are handled and in ensuring that the legal rights of citizens are not violated and are exhausted therein.
In his release, Sankareh addressed us as detractors and people looking for cheap popularity. We frown upon this disrespect to our plights and it shows the inefficiency of the government in providing solutions to problems. A government that is unable to bring about solutions to challenges it is facing always results to the use demeaning descriptions to those it has divergent views with, painting them as detractors or political pundits looking for popularity. It is a shame that Gambia government officials continue on this mediocre path of dealing with citizens that raise concerns about issues affecting them.
We are not detractors and we are not interested in cheap popularity. What we want is for our government to address the deportation issue or communicate in a very clear and effective manner to Gambians once and for all regarding the issue. We have tried several diplomatic approaches to reach out to the government and appealed for their intervention but they ignored us.
We have applied for a permit from the police but they are still delaying it that we should wait on the government, and that they will discuss about the deportation. Lest we remind them: we have the right to peaceful assembly.
We have since January reached out to the government and have written letters to President Adama Barrow; Vice President Ousainou Darboe; the ministers of Youth, Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Justice; all the National Assembly Members, including the Speaker of the House and the heads of all political parties but to no avail. Enough is enough! We are going ahead with our peaceful protest as necessitated by the lack of response and concern by those we have elected to protect and serve us as citizens.
We are, therefore, inviting every Gambian to our peaceful protest to be held at West Field on Thursday, March 7, 2019.
Omar Saibo Camara
Political Science Student, UTG and Activist.
Spokesperson- Concerned Citizens against deportation.
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