While The Gambian police are trying to figure out what must have occasioned Friday’s three year “jotna” protest march, the leader of the United Democratic Party Ousainou Darboe, was quick to say that his part was not behind the protest march, FREEDOM NEWSPAPER CAN REPORT. In a statement issued shortly after the protesters were arrested by the police, Darboe dispelled what he calls “ rumors and allegations” that were making the rounds that the UDP was organizing a protest march against President Barrow’s administration.
“The secretary general and party leader of the United Democratic Party hereby informs the general public that the UDP is not organising any political event or gathering in any part of the Gambia contrary to the rumours and allegations that the United Democratic Party is organising or participating in the organising a protest and or manifestations in any part of the Gambia. The UDP is a responsible and mature political party and not a protest movement whenever political events are organised the party ensures that all the necessary permits are obtained in good time,” the former sacked Gambian Vice President and UDP Leader said.
Darboe’s critics said his statement amounts to “possible deniability” in an attempt to save face. But the UDP Leader maintains that the UDP is a party that respects the rule of law and would not engage in such protest marches without securing a police permit.
The UDP Spokesman Almami Taal yesterday told the Kerr Fatou online TV, in an interview that Gambians reserve the right to petition their government or to assemble peacefully to protest if they have any resentment in the way the government operates. This followed, a question fired to him by reporter Darboe, who asked him if he (Taal) was concerned about a potential uprising in The Gambia, ahead of the 2019, three years “jotna” transition deadline. Darboe says there is growing interest amongst Gambians over the three years “jotna” planned protest. But Taal maintained that the right to peaceful protest was a fundamental guaranteed right under the current constitution.