By Abdoulie John
Officials of the opposition Gambia Democractic Congress (GDC) have got an axe to grind with the police for questioning their leader and denying them permit to hold a rally in Brikama on August 12.
“We are resolved not to bow down to any form of intimidation,” GDC Youth Leader MC Cham defiantly says.
The GDC leader Mamma Kandeh was last Tuesday questioned by police over his controversial statement at an August 4th rally in Essau, Noth Bank Region, the the Barrow administration has been embezzling funds allocated by international partners. Instead of substantiating his bogus allegations, the failed presidential contender went berserk, saying the police should have also asked the Information Minister Demba Jawo to prove that Kanilai rioters were armed with weapons.
So far, no charges have been preferred on Mr. Kandeh. But MC Cham says the police action is “an attempt to cover up the real issues. Our party is just calling for more transparency in loans and grants management,” Cham adds.
The party officials are also challenging the police for denying them the right to hold a political gathering in one of the Coalition government’s strongholds. The GDC Spokesperson would not understand why police did not justify the denial.
“The GDC is a law-abiding party and the leadership agrees not to defy police order and go ahead with Brikama rally,” Lamin Fatty tells Kairo News.
However, Fatty was quick to warn the police that his party will, in the end, run out of patience. “We don’t want to break any law. But we’re making it very clear that if we were not silenced or intimidated under dictatorship, we cannot be silenced in the New Gambia.”
A prominent UK-based human rights activist added his voice to the GDC permit denial, urging the police to allow to political parties hold rallies without any conditions attached.
“The police should issue GDC permit to hold rally anytime, anywhere they want without any pre-conditions put forward. That is the democracy we fought for!” Bamba Serign Mass writes in his Facebook wall.
When contacted, police spokesperson Foday J. Conta promised to get back to us with clarification, which never happened. Our reporter’s multiple attempts to reach him proved futile.