The action by the Tujereng Police officers to continuously harass, abuse and arrest UDP [United Democratic Party] Youth Activist is a complete breach of the oath the police have taken to serve and protect the people and their liberty. I need not to remind Station Officer [Hassan] Bahoum that the personal vendetta he has against the UDP Youth Activists is personal and not in the best interest of the public – the taxpayers that are paying his monthly salary. The security forces need not to be reminded that they work for the State and not an individual or a political party and must not therefore misuse their authority to gain personal recognition. Such opportunism is undignified, shameful and heartbreaking.
It is against this backdrop that I stand with the UDP Youths to denounce such unpatriotic and disloyalty to the community by the police. We should all come together and demand a stop to the politically motivated arrest and detention of UDP Youths whose rights have been continuously violated. The action of the police is a threat to peaceful coexistence and a continuation of such unruly action by the police only heightens the distrust between the people and the police.
The arrest of Amadou Jallow is illegal, for it is not a crime for a person to host a meeting in his home, especially in a country where people cannot exercise their right to assembly. There is no legal motive that warrants Mr Jallow’s arrest; it is a motive of personal score settling with the UDP after the freeing of 14 other youths who were arrested by Hassan Bahoum.
I will reaffirm my stance that the UDP Leadership needs to take the needed action not by visiting these youths when they are arrested but putting their foot down and defy any unlawful action against the party’s members. It is high time that a strong message be sent out, that such abuse of its members will not be accepted or tolerated. This recommended message should be accompanied by the kind of needed action, which will send a clear signal to the so-called keepers of the law, that any further harassment, abuse, or illegal arrest and detention of UDP members, shall tantamount to an all out confrontation of the injustice that has been perpetually lashed out on the UDP in particular and Gambians in general.
Far too many UDP members and leaders have been detained for longer than the 72 hours constitutional stipulation, tortured and persecuted. Since 1996 the persecuted UDP members includes Amadou Sanneh, Waa Juawara, Shngle Nyassi, Femi Peters, Solo Sandeng, Kanyiba Kanyi, Lasana Jobarteh and now Amadou Jallow. Truly, it has been a long time coming and the UDP under such a hilly political playing field, have continuously used the courts and their belief in the law, justice and order to plead their case and fight for the freedom, well-being and liberty of its members. But the times have changed and so did the tune of the political music. I believe it is time for the UDP to change in course to a more defying one and change their dance steps. Unless that is done so, the party’s members will continue to be persecuted.
This is not a UDP problem alone; it is a Gambian problem that requires collective action. As the biggest political party, the UDP is looked up to for leadership. Thus far, I applaud their efforts but encourage them to reinvent from being a political party to more of an activist group to stand out as a party for not UDP Members but a party of all Gambians regardless of what political party you belong to, even if it is the APRC by standing up against injustice for all.
I therefore, strongly stand by my youth brothers and sisters of the UDP to denounce the arrest of the party’s youths that officer Bahoum be dishonorably discharged from the Gambia Police Force if they want to protect their integrity. The police should be community oriented but unfortunately, the Gambia Police Force has proven to be political party-oriented. Mr. Amadou Jallow has committed no crime and I pray and hope that they do not create any bogus charges and take him to the courts. If such happens, the UDP should make sure that they do not legitimize such illegal behavior by the police by even allowing a court process to happen – they should confront it head on and tackle the bull by the horn.
To all of my fellow youths, keep up your activism and the work you are doing on the ground. I know you are risking your lives in the process but justice for you all is coming soon!
God Bless the Gambia!
Mr. editor, thanks for this interesting editorial as it clearly shows the type of mal-governance we are currently witnessing in the Gambia. I however humbly point out in the firsst paragraph (3rd line) that the correct word should have been BREACH instead of BRIDGE.
Thanks for the alert. It’s much appreciated.