SHOULD THE JULY 22 COUP BE COMMEMORATED?

The nation is being dragged into a debate that should never have been.

The media has made claims that July 22 will be celebrated. The fact of the matter is that all the political parties in The Gambia participated in the April 6, 2017 National Assembly elections. This is designed to give The Gambia a new start in multi-party politics.

Gambians are convinced that they can elect and replace governments through the ballot box. This letter and spirit of ensuring that change is effected through the ballot box is what should become the political culture of the country. July 22 deals with a coup d’etat and does not promote a democratic culture of transferring power through the ballot box. The political parties which exist in The Gambia have a right to promote their economic and social programmes by holding rallies and commemorating their birthdays under democratic political dispensation. It is best for the APRC leadership to trace the birth of their party to the end of their transition period and the emergence of political activity in the country.

This is what is worth teaching the electorate. Coups d’etat should be a matter for political analysts and not perpetuated and celebrated by those who treasure republican and democratic values.

However, it is our conviction that issues raised in the press regarding commemoration of July 22 should not be a matter for the police and should not be regarded as seditious. Sedition is a provision in the law that should be revoked. Intentions that are not backed by action constitute empty chatter and wishful thinking. Such intentions should give rise to debates among citizens in order to promote republican and democratic values and help to raise the awareness of those who have undemocratic values.

This is how matters stand.