Police Pushes UDP To The Wall

Ousainou and IGP
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and IGP Yankuba Sonko

The leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has vented his anger on the Gambia Police for continuously denying his party the permit to use the Public Address System during its rallies. This has pushed the party to the wall to the extent that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe is making one more permit application. The granting of permit will not bar the UDP from going ahead with its planned rally.

Mr. Darboe made the statement at a news conference in Banjul on Sunday. He blamed the police for hiding behind flimsy excuses to deny the party the permit, which is a clear violation of their constitutional right to assemble and communicate with party members.

UDP letter_28_Aug_Denial2UDP letter_20_Aug_Denial1

The conference was prompted by the denial of the party to hold a rally at Cedar Club in Latrikunda on August 30th between 3 and 10 PM.

The party made a written request on August 21st but the police waited until two days before the rally and issued the denial. This latest denial came barely two weeks after UDP’s request to celebrate its 18th year anniversary rally was refused.

Police based its denial on security reasons and the burden a diversion would have caused to motorists and pedestrians if a rally is held at Ebony in Serekunda Central.

In an urgent letter to the police chief [published below], Lawyer Darboe challenged the flimsy excuses advanced by the police. He urged the Inspector General of Police to attend to this matter in a timely manner so that a situation does not arise to interfere with our arrangements.

Dear Sir,


I write on behalf of the United Democratic Party to acknowledge receipt of your letter ref. GPF/078/8/(105) dated 20111 August 2014 on the above subject in which you recommend a rescheduling of the rally to a different venue.

I wish to make a few observations on the handling of our applications for use of a Public Address System at our rallies.

I recall that shortly after the conclusion of the Kanilai International Roots Festival the Campaign Manager of the UDP accompanied me to a meeting with you. At this meeting I applauded the good will of the current leadership of The Gambia Police Force but raised some matters of concern amongst them is the timing of the approval of permits for use of P.A. system. I made it clear that since the GRTS will not announce our scheduled rallies without proof that the party has secured a permit, it is important that our applications are treated timeously so that there is adequate time to carry out the required publicity.

Before and after that meeting, we have always submitted application in time to allow you sufficient time and space to do whatever is required in arriving at a decision.

I recall on 19th July 2014, an application was submitted for the use of a PA at rally scheduled to take place on 9″ August at Ebony in Serrekunda. After several follow ups, your office asked Mr. Sandeng to pick up the permit on Thursday 7th August 2014.

Because we did not have adequate time to carry out publicity — effectively there was only one day — our Campaign Manager called on you and asked that the permit be not issued as its usefulness is questionable.

On 1 August 2014 we submitted another application for a permit to use a P.A. System at a rally to specifically celebrate the 18th anniversary of the founding of the party. We followed up to check on the status of this application virtually on a daily basis until at about 5pm on Wednesday 20th August 2014 when you delivered, your letter under reference.

I have taken trouble to recapitulate the above facts to show that the good will that we have banked on is being undermined and eroded. It is my view that the granting of permits must be real and not merely apparent.

We submit applications in time so that they can be treated and a response received from you’ on time. It is my belief that permits granted on the last working day of the week amounts to a refusal because there is just not time to do the necessary.

As pointed out above, your letter under reference was received at about 5 PM on 20th August. The reason advanced in support of your recommendation could have been communicated much earlier and this would demonstrate the bona fides of the recommendation.

In any event, the UDP and other parties have held rallies at this particular venue in past rainy seasons and the conditions of the roads linking to the main road have not changed. Pedestrians and motorist never experienced any difficulty and for commercial vehicles it has always been beneficial due to the number of passengers they ferry to the venue. Even though the UDP does not agree with the reason for your recommendation to re-schedule the rally to another venue, I HEREBY INFORM you that the proposed rally is now scheduled to hold at the Cedar Club Latrikunda (opposite Africell) on Saturday 30″ August 2014
between the hours the 3pm and 10 pm. This venue is one that has been used by us on several occasions to hold rallies.
I implore you to attend to this matter timeously so that a situation does not arise to interfere with our arrangements.

Yours in the Service Of The Gambia


CC:    The Permanent Secretary
           Ministry of the Interior
          The Director General NIA
           Marina Parade

The Chairman .IEC
Kanifng Municipality


  1. The courts are there to enforce legal rights, the UDP should seek legal redress on this issue…

  2. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Kejau, are you referring to Gambian courts? The courts are there for yaya jammeh and I’m absolutely sure they will favour the police. You should know better.

  3. This is a very positive and mature step befitting of a party with the status and following of the UDP…

    I agree with Kejau that the legal processes should be followed…I do not think, with all due respect to Lawyer Darboe, that a meeting should be held without a Police Permit until all the legal processes have been openly followed and exhausted…

    The decisions of the court, which will most probably go against the UDP is important, but more important is the Public perception that such a biased outcome would have…

    The support and legitimacy, both Nationally and Internationally, that the UDP will enjoy for any future actions they may decide to take, is worth the trouble…

    The APRC is doing what it is doing today because of the public support it enjoys, rightly or wrongly, and any opportunity to erode that support must be pursued to its logical end…

    We should remember that The Gambia has its fair share of people who are inclined to hooliganism and thuggery…We see them everywhere…at sports, social or even religious events…

    What we mustn’t do is to give them the cover they need to carry out their barbaric acts….Unfortunately, the attitudes of the two main parties ( APRC & UDP ) towards each other, which is characterised by animosity, hatred and anger, is the sort of environment these “criminals” need…

    No effort must be spared to deny such people any cover for their despicable acts..

  4. Nice one Bax. I “love” your analysis of the denial of permit issue and how the UDP should go around it. Bax you are indeed a PDOIS product to the core. I give up on you. Some of you are either politically naive or plain hypocrites. I suspect that Bax that you have been out of the Gambia for a very long and you left the shores of the Gambia infected with the PDOIS bug. That in itself does not and should not excuse your seeming nativity which I really believe is hypocrisy being cloaked under the guise of “clever reasoning”. Sorry to say but you sound and behave very much like Halifa Sallah – well when I am chanced I will try and substantiate these allegations but I am not promising you this any soon and at least no thesis on the subject.
    Soldier Kejau, I am however disappointed with your analysis and reasoning. The Kejau I use to know (and yes believe me I know you) was a clever young man with sharp, independent and analytical mind but it appears that you have substituted your training of obeying your superiors at the Gambian Armed Forces and substituted it with total worship of the Generals and Gurus of PDOIS i.e. Halifa Sallah and Sidia. How else can I explain your total submission to PDOIS to the point that you are devoid of any form of reasoning.
    That said, I still believe that you can be salvaged but certainly not Bax or Dauwda. Having said that who am I after all to tell you that my way of thinking and rationalization is the correct way. Who knows, may be I will even begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and end up supporting PDOIS. If brother Kejau of all has been mesmerized and captivated by PDOIS ideology who am I not to catch the bug??? Peace and love to all of you PDOIS supporters. No hard feelings

  5. Lafia Touray la Manju

    UDP have actually taken the permit denial issue to court 1998 and won. This is currently a ruling in place which says the IGP have no right to deny permit unless he has reasonable justifications that are in the interest of protecting national security or maintaining public law and order. That ruling is now blatantly flouted by the IGP, which is a shame.

    By the way, Sidia Jatta was on the radio saying police do not deny permits. He’s turn himself into a laughing stock lol!

  6. Lafia Touray la Manju

    UDP have actually taken the permit denial issue to court in 1998 and won. There is currently a ruling in place which says the IGP have no right to deny permit unless he has reasonable justifications that are in the interest of protecting national security or maintaining public law and order. That ruling is now blatantly flouted by the IGP, which is a shame. This is according to by UDP source.

    Meanwhile Sidia Jatta of the naferious PDOIS party was on the radio saying police do not deny permits. He’s turn himself into a laughing stock lol!

  7. Bax, whilst your reasoning appears very reasonable. However, what you have not explained is what next after court action especially after knowing that the decision of the court “will most probably go against the UDP”. You need to take your analysis to its logical conclusion for your readership to follow. The public’s perception of the legal system in The Gambia has always been very clear. Again, how does this “public perception” help improve the governance environment. Having said that, please note that I am not (and will never advocate) for violence because I know, without any iota of doubt, that in The Gambia of today, once violence erupts, it will be very disastrous.

  8. P.K.Loum. ..

    Call me whatever you like,and take as much time as you can, to proof your allegations…Unlike you and your likes, I will not “push” anybody into a confrontation that I do not wish to be a part of or a party to…

    I can’t remember any of you guys jetting off to Banjul to stand by Mr Femi Peters, when he defied a Police order and held a.meeting without a permit. ..He was incarcerated in Mile 2 without a finger being lifted….

    Similarly, when Dr Janneh was nabbed, humiliated,put in chains and slapped with a life imprisonment sentence at “hell on earth”, none of you who urge people on, lifted a finger…And you call me a “hypocrite”..


    The UDP won a case in 1998 so you don’t want them.to go down that route again…What do you propose..? Go ahead with meeting with or without permit…

  9. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Bax, all I am saying is that that ruling of 1998 is still valid and have not been overturned. Therefore, the police need to observe and respect the decision of our court.

    What the police has done is contempt of court which is criminal but it is the police who prosecute crime, not UDP.


  10. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Look there is more to this story. A police HQ insider told me that Yankuba Sonko is a mere figure head without powers. And the fact that he has good relationship with the UDP leader, a fellow mandinka, who he always receive in his office well is a concern. He said Yankuba is not happy about this permit matter but he’s been sidelined because he is mandinka. So he decided to step back and leave everything in the hand of ousman Gibba out of fear of loosing his own job.

    There you go mandinkas, a mandinka Inspector General of Police is being bullied in office.

    Dida, I don’t care if you hate my comments above. I will always speak against mandinkaphobia in The Gambia before calamity befalls mandinkas there.


  11. “There you go mandinkas, a mandinka Inspector General of Police is being bullied in office. Dida, I don’t care if you hate my comments above. I will always speak against mandinkaphobia in The Gambia before calamity befalls mandinkas there.”

    Lafia, Mandinka (or likely not – LOL!) he is a wonderful man – polite, kind, professional and well educated. I think he is Ethiopian actually – or spent many years in Addis!

  12. Thanks Janko, for saying ” NO ” to violence.

    I’m sure you will agree that what the UDP does ( or any party for that matter ), under the current climate, is entirely up to them… but as with any problem, an assessment needs to be made, in order to formulate a strategy that best suits them, taking all factors into consideration…

    I appreciate the difficult environment that the opposition is operating in, especially the UDP, but the ingenuity of any great leader in such a climate, would be to cleverly find ways round these obstacles without attracting the wrought of the public…And this cannot be done by adopting a confrontational approach with an opponent, who does not only have the numbers on.his side, but controls the state machinery as well…That’s why the “battle” for public perception is important…

    We mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that the voices of the vocal minority (mainly in the diaspora ) represents the public perception on the ground, of Jammeh’s manner of governance…

    Whether we acknowledge it or not, public perception in The Gambia, as indicated by those who bother to exercise their rights as citizens,is in support of Yaya Jammeh’s manner of governance….

    But, as always, I respect the right of the UDP to adopt the approach they deem appropriate, especially when those who are calling for such an approach are prepared to lead on the ground, unlike the cyber agitators…


    • Bax, thanks for your civility and maturity exhibited in your response – that is the spirit. We can have very healthy debates, put across our view points without insults and obscenities. This is a big challenge for a lot of Gambians, including my humble self.

      Having said that, and without attempting to defend Ousainou Darboe, you would agree with me that the man has indeed been one person who has always resorted to legal means to resolve matters considered injustice either to the UDP or to the individual members of the party. I assume this has to do with his professional background and possibly his civility as a person. Over the years, I have watched this man avoid all means that could have pitched him against the APRC Shenanigans. In fact, at some point, member of his own party, and even, non-party members felt the man was so cowardly, considering the goodwill he enjoys from the general public which could have been exploited to create instability. However, Ousainou has been very frank that if he was not going to send his family (children) to be brutalised by his opponent, he cannot send others to do that. This is not only sensible but also a reflection of a person who is very considerate and conscentious. The Legal route, however, has not produced the intended results (prevalence of justice and a cessation to the endless harrassment) and even where judgement has been obtained in favour of the complainant, nothing else happens apart from the Judge’s pronouncement. I believe there has been enough “assessment” of the situation on the ground and that is why the UDP resorts to legal means. However, since this has proven ineffectual, collectively (we do not have to leave things in the hands of one party leader only) we need to find other peaceful solutions that could produce the intended results, and for me, there could not be any better forum than this to exchange ideas that could move The Gambia forward.

      I agree with you that the “voices of the vocal minority (mainly in the diaspora)” does not represent the majority. However, I beg to disagree with your assertion that “public perception in The Gambia, as indicated by those who bother to exercise their rights as citizens, is in support of Yaya Jammeh’s manner of governance”. No, this is not entirely accurate. Gambians in The Gambia are suffering from either of these two factors below:

      1) The fear factor:- The majority of Gambians detest Jammeh’s manner of governance. However, driven by fear (in an environment where an expression of one’s genuine thoughts is not only reprimanded but could also cost one’s life), Gambians are cowed into accepting the current status quo. The fear of economic and social exclusion factors further give credence to this point.

      2) Emanating from the first point above, the fear factor (combined with economic hardship) has turned most of us now into hypocrites of the highest order. Bax, in The Gambia of today, your own sibling could send you to the gallows just to save their own skin or for possible ephemeral gains to be derived from the All Hail King in executing such an action.

      Therefore, given the two points above, what you see as the public’s approval of Jammeh’s governance style is nothing but a façade beneath which is a boiling volcano. I know this and that is why I am not in for any violence. Again, we need to ask, why those who do not “bother to exercise their rights as citizens” appear contented with that comportment? Don’t you think this could be due to a genuine lack of confidence in the polity and the entire political process? We need to find out.

      On a final note, Bax, honestly with your style of reasoning which I very much adore, we should not be looking at these injustices as a UDP and/or Mandinka affair, but as a Gambian affair which need to be tackled collectively. Gambians need your brain and power of reasoning (AND THE REST OF US ALL) to help the country out of its current predicament. When we do this, then we become useful citizens that the country can be proud of. Anything less is a disaster. This is why I am suggesting one of many possible solutions:

      The UDP is by far, the strongest Opposition party in The Gambia today. Given this fact and the lopsided electoral process in place, designed on the-winner-take-all fashion, all other Opposition parties should consider rallying around the bigger one (UDP) to challenge the incumbent. They can do this by agreeing on and subscribing to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) defining the nature and character of the government that comes in under such an arrangement. The task at hand will be to reorganise the political, judicial and overall governance arena to midwife the birth of a proper democracy in our beloved Gambia. Brushing aside reality for political theories that have never been tested, in my opinion, is a denial of the reality. Let us accept the Gambian reality and move on.

  13. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Dida, don’t doubt Yankuba Sonko’s mandinka identity. He is pure mandinka.

    Sonko bankiray kolley; kidoo kumata Essau kungoto Sonko yee naamo kaaning; fulanjango kumata Sika kungoto Sonko yee naamo kaaning; aanata kuma Duma sang sang Berending Sonko yee naamo kaaning.

    For the above reason, Yankuba Sonko’s ancestors are known in mandinka oratory as “Naamo Kaning Mansas”


    • Guys do not learn lessons that are so apparent to ignore in this world and being dumbed continue to ignore the writing on the wall. One thing i must tell you, Gambia cannot be an exception to what has happened to the end of tyrants from ancient Egypt to modern day Libya. We as Gambians will also continue saying “let us not pray for this or that Gambia is very small”. Small as it may be there are human beings living there and a tyrant as a ruler. This is very scary. We have reached the peak of his rule he cannot go any further, that is why he is getting the last title ‘KING’-good for history the last king of west Africa who is also the most ignorant and illiterate ruler Africa has ever seen.

      People are sick and tired of this barbaric rule in the Gambia all those who aided him one way or the other in continuing to make Gambians suffer, being service men or otherwise will one day dance to their own tune. Unfortunately when the wrath of God comes it does not select, not in this world anymore except for few instances that history has in record (1) the end of pharaoh of Egypt when he pursed Moses it was him and his aides only. (2) Abraham king of Sana present day Yemen wanted to abolish kaaba in Mecca, it was him and his aides, but when the time for Samuel k. Doe came it was all Liberians that suffered, when the time for Gadhafi came it was all Libyans the trend continues… Personnel interest and greed make people to ignore their role in collective interest and sadly that is what we are facing in Gambia.

      The old man should not put his supporters into any danger of being arrested or tortured, the game is almost over it is just a matter of time. UDP is the only credible opposition in the Gambia consisting of all ethnic groups in that nation, the rest are just scape goats. We have reached the peak of his rule he cannot go any further… just continue to be patient and do not put your supporters into any more of his nonsenses. God is watching from above and by His Grace THE JOB IS DONE.

  14. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Strifling the legal opposition can potentially give rise to an illegal opposition and that is not good for The Gambia. In that respect, I consider this whole permit issue a threat to national security.

    God save The Gambia

  15. Yet another contempt and disregard to democracy.This is a clear violation of human right,this so-called police chief and his thugs are draging the Gambia to its knees. Long live UDP!

  16. @Bax and I quote “Whether we acknowledge it or not, public perception in The Gambia, as indicated by those who bother to exercise their rights as citizens,is in support of Yaya Jammeh’s manner of governance….” If you think your statement is TRUE then better ask JK to go ahead and be crown King of the Gambia.

    Thank God, I am right here in Banjul, and TOTALY refute your statement. It does not reflect on what obtains on the ground and I can assure you that 95% of government workers and 70% of the general population hate JK. His Jola kinsmen are the ones that suffered most from this PUNK head and we all it.
    After 20 years of FEAR and hesitation it is high time that ALL Gambians brace up and take this PUNK mansa head on. Unfortunately angers will go BURST when we donot expect it.
    Sorry to interfere in your threads but needed to put the records straight.

  17. @Janko Camara. Janko we should never loose sight that it is the HEARTS of gambians that can go BURST to an uncontrollable dimensions. By that time thinking, diplomacy and logic have left the human being.
    It is very unfortunate that JK will eventually provoke hearts to bursting LOOSE.
    I am on the ground and I can see and feel the thunderstorm brewing in the hearts of Gambians which can go burst anytime. Very unfortunate indeed but what can we do? in my humble mind nothing but watch the events unfold.
    Always remember that humans are thinking animals that can also resort to violence when patience is exhausted.
    This PUNK head Mansa cares less.

  18. @ Buba, thanks for your comment but I fear that before NRMG gets to town, gambian hearts on the ground would have already gone BURSTING LOOSE and the choas will be unimaginable.
    I am very worried of what I hear and see on the ground.

  19. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Janko Camara, you are making too much commonsense. Very Halifa Sallah will lastakarr you. Remember he doesn’t want anybody talking about UDP being the biggest party and therefore smaller parties should rally behind it. He is already sworn on his own life on that matter.

  20. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Janko Camara, you are making too much commonsense. Very soon Halifa Sallah will lastakarr you. Remember he doesn’t like anybody talking about UDP being the biggest party and therefore smaller parties should rally behind it. He has already sworn on his own life on that matter hence his comment, according to Tukuu Jallow, that he rather have jammeh continue as president than Darboe to become one.