Essa Njie: Barrow’s Attack on Madi Jobarteh is an affront to democracy, and free speech
By Landing Ceesay
Essa Njie, a Political Science Lecturer at the University of the Gambia said the verbal attack by President Barrow on Madi Jobarteh is an affront to democracy and free speech.
“We all are witnesses to Barrow’s personal attack on Dr. Ismaila Ceesay which all genuine Gambians condemned and thought that would be the first and final time Barrow would attack the personality of a Gambian for merely holding his government to account. Instead, this man has turned the highest office of the land into a joke. The presidency is not meant to utter reckless and irresponsible statements. The verbal attack by Barrow on Madi Jobarteh is an affront to democracy and free speech.
“President Barrow has no ‘enemies ‘other than genuine and patriotic Gambians who care about the future of their country, who are concerned about the rampant and decentralized corruption in his government, who are interested in holding public officials to account, including him (Barrow) on the mismanagement of public funds and abuse of office.” -he said.
Essa further said Barrow inherited a divided country; a country full of tribal discontent. Therefore, President Barrow’s foremost responsibility upon assuming office was to be a unifying figure and work towards creating a better Gambia.
He contended that the Gambia is a country facing enormous challenges, ranging from a dilapidated health care system that is synonymous with death sentences, rising poverty, and inequality, a terrible education system, unsafe roads, an ill-functioned civil service, rising crimes, and criminality, to a country characterized by rampant corruption.
“instead of focusing on addressing this myriad of challenges, Adama Barrow is bent on attacking the personalities of his government’s staunch critics, trying to silence patriotic and genuine Gambians whose only crime is to ask relevant questions and demand answers for the misuse of their hard-earned money.”
“Madi Jobarteh’s call for citizens to take to the streets in protest for the failure of the government to explain the findings of the National Audit Office about the D669 million that were allegedly withdrawn without approval is indeed a genuine call and he should be applauded for that. I equally join Madi in calling for a protest by citizens in demand for answers”.
The Political Science lecturer at the country’s highest learning institute said President Barrow did not know the implications of his own statement against Madi Jobarteh. He said Labeling Madi as a threat to national security is indeed misleading and deserves to be condemned by all well-meaning Gambians.
“Attempting to silence Madi or any government critic is a threat to freedom of expression and democratic governance. And any attempt to return our people to the dark days of dictatorship could threaten the security of this country.” -Essa Njie said.