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“Rule for One, Rule for All”: IGP Vows to Prosecute Those Who Insult Leaders

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Seedy Muctar Touray, Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force

By Landing Ceesay 

Seedy Muctar Touray, the Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force, declared his intent to prosecute individuals who insult elders and leaders in his first direct engagement with the media since assuming office on March 15, 2024.

Addressing various concerns, including drug-related crimes and hate speech, during a press briefing at his office on June 14, 2024, IGP Touray emphasized the importance of upholding respect for elders and leaders in Gambian society. He drew on his upbringing to highlight the cultural significance of discipline, noting that deviating from these norms risks societal disapproval.

“When I was young, growing up in the village if an elderly person sees the child of someone else doing something, that parent will discipline that individual. If you cry and go back to the house and report to your parents that so so person has beaten me, and you are asked what you did and you narrate, some parents will even beat you. But we are completely deviating from that, and I don’t think society will be kind to us if we continue policing this country in that manner. 

“Issues like tribal bigotry, violent rhetoric, insulting our elders, and insulting our leaders, must cease in this country. I am saying this because there will be no selective justice—rule for one, rule for all. If anyone dares to challenge this statement from the Inspector General of Police, as soon as we finish this press briefing, you can go in the air and start insulting the elders of this country. We will not relent; we will execute our functions as law enforcement elements of this country,” IGP Touray vowed. 

The IGP emphasized that such behavior is unfamiliar and must be addressed to restore proper decorum. He clarified that democracy does not equate to unrestrained freedom.

Touray stressed that with democratic rights come personal obligations, urging everyone to act responsibly within society. He underscored the universal teachings, whether from Christian, Muslim, or any other faith, that emphasize respect for elders from a young age.

“Before I conclude my brief, I would like to talk about discipline, staff welfare, hate speech, land disputes, drug abuse, and peddling. Discipline is a prerequisite for the development of any society. More so, the security services. The servicemen and women in uniform come from society. I was a civilian 30 years ago, and I never dreamt of putting on a uniform. My plans were for other sectors. But this is predestined. It was God the Almighty who said I would wear a uniform Up to a certain period in my life. 

“In the years to come, when I will retire, I am not going to put on a uniform again. Essentially, I was a civilian yesterday, but tomorrow I am going back to being a civilian. Therefore, we are one and the same. In view of this reality, it is important for us to inculcate discipline in our children and encourage decorum in our public discourse. The rhetoric in our public discourse is bellicose and unpleasant because of the name-calling, hate speech and outright personal insults directed at people we disagree with,” he said. 

IGP Touray expressed grave concern regarding the numerous land disputes nationwide. He disclosed that investigations have uncovered instances where official ownership documents are being issued to multiple parties. He emphasized that his administration will take strict action against any public official found guilty of such misconduct.

“Issues relating to Land, more especially from us, the Kombonkas. Land disputes—80% to 85% of them in this country—happen in the Kombos. Incidentally, I am an indigenous member of the Kombo community. But again, we want to make it very clear: I came from a lineage of traditional rulers; my father was an alkali, his father was an alkali, and today is my own brother who is an alkali from my own community. 

“But let this message be very clear: to all traditional rulers, if you issued out land to a multitude of innocent people all having their authentic documents, where litigation is the only solution, we will not be kind to you. Equally, the relevant authority that is responsible for issuing land documents has 3, 4 and sometimes 5 people, all of them having valid documents from one office. Are you not knocking the heads of innocent people together? This must stop. And again, we will not be lenient with anybody who is found wanting or perpetrating this act,” IGP Touray told the media. 

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