As Adama Barrow is putting up the needed contingency plans to abort the much talked about December protest march, soldiers, policemen, prison wardens and other members of the security agencies currently being trained said they will not use force to quell protesters if there should be any protest march come December. They said, they do not want to be dragged into another TRRC post Barrow era. Hundreds of security officers are currently being trained ahead of the “three years” jotna planned protest march. They were being initially trained at the police intervention unit headquarters in Kanifing, but they have been moved to a military barracks.
Barrow had reneged from his promise of running a three years transition period. He claimed that he needed time to finish the projects he had started. Though, his critics said Barrow hasn’t achieved any meaning developmental project since assuming the presidency. Barrow has been accused of presiding over an endemic corrupt government. A charge he denies.
A top Gambian security chief told this medium that his colleagues have learned from the past Jammeh era. He added that the days of a commander-in-chief using security agents for his own political interest are over.
Barrow’s predecessor dictator Yahya Jammeh had used members of the security forces to torture, and kill his perceived political opponents during his twenty two years rule. Jammeh’s past rights abuses is currently being investigated by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).
“He can arm us, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to open fire at our brothers and sisters. The current batch being trained by our men and the Germans will not shoot at anyone. I can assure you that. This country is at crossroads. We the security forces will not allow to be used again,” said one top security chief, who wished not to be named for fear of possible reprisal.
“Based on what we are hearing, the protesters are planning to march from the KMC to the State House in Banjul. We hope the protest would be peaceful. This country cannot afford instability. The rule of law should be respected. We need peace in this country,” the officer added.
The security chief said he doesn’t think that Barrow is competent enough to rule The Gambia. He said The Gambia has reached to the level of a social breakdown—given what he calls the regime’s lack of commitment to tackle corruption and punish its perpetrators. He says combating corruption is not part of Barrow’s agenda. He added that poor Gambians are paying for the regime’s ineptness as there is hunger and hopelessness in the country.
“Instead of fulfilling his transitional agenda, Barrow is busy consolidating himself in power. The security forces that he wanted to use are victims of his misrule. We are suffering. He is out of touch when it comes to the plight of the security forces,” he remarked.