I wish to respond to Mr. Madi Jobarteh´s November 5th article headlined “The Police Must Protect The Right to Protest- #OccupyWestfield.”
Mr. Jorbateh got it all wrong this time. First and foremost, our today’s Gambia Police Force is far from being partisan as you ironically and indirectly indicated. We may not like or agree with this present Coalition government but we have to be realistic and be fair as good citizens. We have to show respect for our police force and have confidence in their decision making without insinuating troubles. This is New Gambia and surely a whole new ways of doing things, far more better than the previous regime we had. Our police force may not be the perfect force hence there will always be room for improvement but surely things will gradually get better. Therefore, a balance criticism of the police force is what is needed today and not one sided. Let us all come together, put our differences aside and help build strong and effective institutions rather discrediting and pointing fingers. Imagine what a Gambia we are capable of building for our selves and generations yet to be born! This democracy is like a newly born infant that belongs to all of us Gambians. Think for a moment what would happen to this infant if we collectively neglect it because we do not see eye to eye with the new government that we have put in place? Some of us keep on ranting that the Gambia belongs to all of us but when the government asked for a helping hand, the answer is always emphatically no from certain corners. Then the question becomes which Gambia belongs to these people? Yes, in a democracy we might differ in opinions which is pretty much healthy but that doesn’t justify that we should go to the length of ridiculing our national police especially when it comes from influential and opinion building individuals like Madi Jobarteh and others. The police may make mistakes now and then in executing their duties. That is the complexity and beauty of a true democracy where we the citizens have rights to sometimes question our police in certain decision making but equally we have to respect their decisions as well in certain situations. Sometimes we may not like the decision taken by our police but we have to accept them and believe in their judgment. That is democracy. In a democracy it is not like my way or no other way. It is more of a give and take, which comes with rights and responsibilities. It is absolutely inaccurate for Madi Jobarteh to write that “We must bear in mind that it is through such civil disobedience activities that a society nurtures democracy and good governance.” I want to categorically put it to Madi Jobarteh that a true democracy is nurtured through two way dialog, listening, and respecting each others views as well as upholding the rule of law. Civil disobedience can be tantamount to anarchy because it could be a refusal to comply with certain laws, and all civilized and peaceful nations will do everything to avoid civil disobedience in their societies without infringing the rights of citizens. Civil disobedience can also be an extortion on society or government with devastating consequences if prescribe demands are not met. In a not shell this is what justified my notion that Madi Jorbateh had it all wrong this time. We should be responsible citizens and not spread civil disobedience in our society with the pretext it is what describes democracy. Hence Mr Madi Jorbarteh contrary to what you said I see no concern what so ever in the Gambia Police denying a permit to a group of unknown people with unclear and dubious agenda. The Gambian Police Force to my view had acted professionally and wisely particularly to this case of#OccupyWestfield and there si no doubt in my mind they will do the same thing if at all the same situation should arise. Madi Jobarteh`s comparison of recent rallies by the APRC and the UDP to the enigmatic hastag #OccupyWestfield´s failed demonstration is to compare an apple to a pear. It was a very simplistic, cheap, and off course misleading way of comparing two totally different scenarios. In the case of APRC and UDP rallies, we have two registered and well established political entities with clear leadership and acquainted political agenda. Well, in the case of #OccupyWestfield, needless to say that, the leadership, members, and their real motives were quite frankly ambiguous. The whole thing was spooky. One cannot blanket him/her self in the name of freedom of assemble while concealing a sinister agenda and assuming that responsible society hopefully don´t care. NO WAY. Finally, a piece of word for Mr. Madi Jorbateh. The way you are going about will be very hard if not impossible to build a harmonious Gambia for all were coming generations will be proud of generations before them. You see, in today’s Singapore which is a visible example, by the way Singapore is as old as the Gambia and had many similarities in terms of impoverishment and multicultural society. The present generation in Singapore are very thankful and satisfactorily proud of their previous leaders, simply because today’s Singapore is ripping and enjoying the wealth and fruit of the hard work and sacrifices their previous leaders endure. This is exactly what we all should envisage and endeavour to achieve for our beloved multicultural and ethnically diverse new Gambia. IF SINGAPORE CAN MAKE WE CAN MAKE TOO! Thank You. The president Adama Barrows motto: Gambia Forward, Backward Never will take us to the promise land and we can do just like Singapore did if we come together and see: Nation First.