The ongoing Prosecution of eight senior members of the Three years Jotna Movement for alleged participation in the last week peaceful protest and subsequent charges of unlawful assembly and destruction to property is a travesty and mockery to our New Democratic dispensation. This government cannot pride itself as a Democratic government when it cannot allow civil disobedience or peaceful protest. There is every indication that President Barrow’s government is not different from previous government because we have the same people who continue to dictates every single decision in the country without considering the rule of law and democratic norms and values . President Adama Barrow is a clueless leader who spent majority of his time sleeping in the statehouse while his uneducated advisers are working to pursue their selfish agenda at the detriment of the country. The Gambia is a country which just emerged from two decades of military dictatorship and any reasonable person would assume that President Barrow would assemble a formidable team that would advocate for rule of law , institutional reforms and economic advancement but unfortunately the Gambian people have voted for Mr Barrow who has no clue what a democracy is all about and he careless about the main reason he was elected in the first place . President Barrow’s cluelessness and lack of leadership skills should be a genuine concern to all citizens. Barrow think that he can acts and behaves like Jammeh. Mr Barrow did not learn anything about the effects of military dictatorship. Among the effects of dictatorship are the suppression of freedom of speech, association and right to peaceful protest which were grossly violated at the time. Mr Barrow and his cronies failed to remind themselves that it was Jammeh’s government crackdown on peaceful protest of Ebriham Solo Sanderg and his group which led to the coalition formation that ultimately resulted to change of government in 2016. There is no government in this world which can silence the voice of the people . History has shown that no matter how powerful a government can be, it cannot succeed in silencing the voice of the people forever. The example of governments which tried to suppress political rights of citizenry and failed woefully include the United States against civil rights movement ,South Africa’s government during the struggle to emancipate the country from political oppression or apartheid and many others.
The three years Jotna Movement is a civil society organization that is rightfully registered in The Gambia. President Barrow was the first person to acknowledge the existence of the group and he even invited the group for a dialogue about his ill-conceived advise to extend the three years agreement to five years constitutional mandate.
The main objective of this movement is to hold Mr Barrow accountable for his campaign promise he made to The Gambian people three years ago. It is the responsibility of each citizen to hold our leadership accountable and that was what this movement did. Therefore, Barrow’s administration has no constitutional right to ban the three years Jotna Movement because the Gambian constitution allow for the citizens to be affiliated with any political party or civil society group which promote collective interest of The Gambian people. The government decision to ban the three Years Jotna Movement is simply dictatorial or ill-advice. President Barrow needs to surround himself with constitutional experts but not people who are school dropouts. People like Doudo Sano with no formal education should not even be selected to serve as an adviser to well established business entity much more to serve as a political adviser to The President of our country. This is absurd and disgraceful. Barrow should hire people who are more intelligent, experience and expose than him so that he will learn to be a better president before the end of his term. This will help him to stop making silly and unconstitutional decisions.
The charges of unlawful assembly and destruction to property proffered on the eight senior members of The three years Jotna is simply baseless, draconian and attempt to stifle political rights of these decent people. The Prosecution of the three Years Jotna members is like prosecuting honesty, accountability and decency in our democracy. The honesty and decency should be an integral part of our New Democratic dispensation. It was dishonesty, deception and betrayal among the Junta leadership which led to 22 years of military dictatorship characterized by human rights violations and economic exploitation. President Barrow has demonstrated that he is not a honest person who can keep his promise and it is within the constitutional right of the three Years Jotna Movement to remind him that dishonesty, betrayal and deception are dangerous for our new democracy because it can lead to corruption and self-perpetual rule. The former President Jammeh also used lies , deceptions and dishonesty to legitimize and entrench himself in power for 22 years. Even when he was defeated , Jammeh tried the same dishonest behavior or tactics which led to impasse. Mr Barrow is following the same footsteps even in a more dangerous path.
Every democracy entails and enjoy peaceful protest and The Gambia is not an exception if the country truly want to be respected among civilized countries. In this new era, We cannot accept dishonesty, lies and deception to be part of our political process because it will have greater effects on our economic development and our national character. For far long too , we have allowed dishonesty and deception to be integral part of our culture and national character. This needs to be eliminated if we want to be a progressive and democratic country . Our political leadership who should show exemplary character based on highest integrity and decency are the worst culprits of this behavior. As a result, political deception is an acceptable phenomena without any consequences. The evidence of this phenomenon is currently presenting itself in TRRC and other commissions reports . Mr Barrow is simply applying the same tactic to entrench himself in power. Those who are calling him out for his dishonesty should be commended but not prosecuted for speaking the truth. Our path to more mature democracy can only be realized if we allow civil disobedience be integral part of our democracy . The Three years Jotna Movement is on the right path of history in promoting honesty, accountability and decency in our political and democratic process. This is the verdict of their action.
Editors note: The authors views do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. Thanks for your attention.
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