“Students and civil servants walking on foot to Banjul as traffic jam is causing hours of delay. People getting out of cars and walking since that is more faster. Police asking for ID cards, with Police Intervention Unit officers mounting more checkpoints,” said a passenger at Denton Bridge, few miles from Banjul.
The detention and trial of United Democratic Party leadership and ordinary Gambians has given birth to a new dawn in the Gambia, with protest becoming a daily or weekly routine. The weekly trial is becoming a venue of relentless chanting and protest, putting a lot of strain on Gambian security. Already, the paranoid Jammeh security is so uncomfortable that it decide to tighten security with mounting extra checkpoints on the Banjul highway. This could not prevent change-driven Gambians from struggling to enter Banjul to attend the court hearings.
The gridlock has adverse effect on Banjulians and civil servants who trek their way to the island capital by foot. This has not done justice to Banjulians whose right to freedom of movement is restricted.
But one UDP official said Banjul lock down is a tactical move by the embattled Jammeh regime. “The traffic havoc is designed to discourage people from attending the trial. They are not at ease with our open protest against the many wrongdoings in the country. They are worried that we are not scared of them.”
The official added that “Jammeh’s scaremongering is backfiring on him.” The lock down is meant to scare people but that is not the case as many of them walk on foot to elude the artificial traffic jam. If a child tells his mum you will not sleep, the child also better remain awake. Yahya Jammeh you have turned our security forces pussycats. But what they fail to remember is you are more afraid of them than the other way round. Our people attending court are unarmed…armed only with their voice and Kalamaa or Mbatu [calabash]. What are you afraid of? Nothing can stop a determined people. There is no turning back.
Another interesting thing is that many civil servants have returned home for not carrying national ID cards. Students are walking from Palm Groove Hotel to Banjul, which clearly demonstrates people’s power at work. Ordinary citizens are pushing their tyrannical government to the brink.
Fear has eaten up Jammeh’s soul, which is why his government is mounting checkpoints everywhere. It is also meant to scare people so they stay away from the opposition trials. The only panacea to President Jammeh’s paranoia is to step down and allow Gambians to smile again. They have had enough of his vampire government; a government that has been feeding on innocent bloods for 22 years. No sensible person understands why majority of Gambians are in pain yet some partake in the vampire dynasty. This madness has to end through whatever means possible. How can the government lock down Banjul when the economy is already crippled by the Gambia-Senegal border closure orchestrated by Arrogant Yahya Jammeh.