By: Kebba AF Touray
On Saturday 7th October 2017, the Executive members of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), headed by Dr. Demba Sabally, paid a courtesy call on the APRC Party leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, at his home in Tallinding.
The visit was meant to show solidarity with the leadership of the APRC party and condemn in strong possible terms, the brief questioning of the APRC party leader, by the Police. The GDC Executives described this action of the Police as a gross violation of his political rights.
Speaking at the gathering, Mr. Muhamadou M5 Jallow, GDC’s PRO, said the objective of their visit was to show solidarity with Mr Jatta and his party for the breach of their political rights by the police.
“We are here to show our solidarity and express our dissatisfaction; we are here to compliment you in any aspect of the case that has happened and the entire GDC party is definitely against this action of the Police,” said Mr. Jallow.
Mr. Samba Baldeh, the GDC’s Administrative Secretary, said what happened should not have happened; that the GDC party leader Mama Kandeh was once a victim of such incident and urged the police to stay out of politics; that political leaders are expected to speak the voice of the people, noting that when people are dissatisfied of anything they pass it on to their leaders who have the power and rights to air it out to the community. Mr. Baldeh conveyed the solidarity message from the GDC Leadership to the APRC party leader and assured him of the support of the GDC at all times.
Dr. Demba Sabally, the head of the GDC delegation, said they condemn in strongest possible terms, the police calling in party leaders for questioning, for simply expressing their political views.
“This is new in the country and this was said to be a new Gambia. But it looks like it is not the new Gambia, because calling political leaders for questioning is unacceptable. We condemn it and we are here to express our solidarity with you”, he concluded.
Mayor Yankuba Kolley of the KMC, thanked the GDC for the visit and pointed out that the regime of the new Gambia is trying to suppress them; that when they seek for permit they are always denied by the police, which he described as undemocratic and called on the police to be neutral in the execution of their duties to the nation and stay out of politics.
Mr. Cham on behalf of the youth wing of the GDC, condemned the action of the Police saying it was a breach of the political rights of the APRC leader.
Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the APRC party leader thanked GDC for the courtesy visit and said the beauty of democracy is actually pluralism in opinion; that dissenting opinions will always be there and it is only dangerous when those opinions call for war in society; but that if they call for peace, progress and prosperity of the society, people should listen.
Mr. Jatta said extraction from statements and trying to give them meaning, is criminal and call on the authorities to stop frustrating them; that no amount of frustration would move their party backwards.
Explaining the cause of his brief call for questioning by the police, Mr. Jatta narrated that the issue was about some soldiers who were detained which was not clarified; that they were not detained by the government and their notice is that the soldiers were arrested and not taken to court.
“We asked whether it was because they are Jolas that they were being arrested and detained,” Mr. Jatta told the gathering; that his demand is that all tribes should be treated equally and if there is any section of society that is being affected negatively by the government, it is their duty to cry foul.
Mr. Jatta averred that the crack on the new regime began when the coalition parties contested against each other during the last National Assembly Elections, describing the regime as a Coalition President with no NAMs in the Legislature; that come rain and storm, the next government is going to be their Coalition Government that will run the affairs of the country.
The party leader however reminded the youth of the two parties to be aware of the formidable challenges that lie ahead and clarified that APRC made mistakes despite their achievements. “Reflect on what one has done, correct the mistakes and expand on your gains”, Mr. Jatta said.
He urged the youths to be respectful, disciplined and wish others what they wish for themselves and be resolute in defending their rights.
Other speakers included Khadijatou Mendy, Yorro Jallow, Yankuba Suwareh and Kebba Hydara, who all condemned the action of the Police and called on them to be neutral and non-partisan in dealing with the citizenry.