Salieu Taal in his capacity as a concerned citizen has informed that neither the President nor the Police have the power to restrict the fundamental rights of the citizenry granted by the constitution as envisaged in the President’s speech.
“Has the President forgotten that he came to power thanks to politics? Does the President understand that he does not have the power to suspend politics in any shape or form and neither can he “instruct” the IGP to grant or deny a permit [to] any applicant who wishes to assemble peacefully for politics or any other reasons. The authority and discretion to grant permit[s] for public gatherings is vested in the IGP under the Public Order Act subject to the Constitution. The right of the citizens to exercise their fundamental rights to associate and assemble cannot be displaced by the considerations such as fleeting inconveniences to the public or Presidential directives. Neither the President nor the Police have the power to restrict the fundamental rights of the citizenry granted by the constitution as envisaged in the President’s speech.
“This is a dangerous path and an affront to our fledgling democracy. We now live in a democracy and expect our leaders to not only practice democracy but to speak the language of democracy. We expect our leaders to imbibe a democratic culture and be the champions of democracy. Vibrant multiparty politics is an integral part of a democracy, in essence and substance. It is through politics that we peacefully changed our destiny after twenty- two years of a dictatorship. Politics is not only about elections and a build up to it every five years. Politics ensures good governance and accountability,” Taal said on Facebook as a concerned citizen of the President’s recent comment.
“When we voted for change, we voted for a humble unknown man against an arrogant, pompous tyrant. President Barrow, #GambiaHasDecided against tyranny .Never again will ANY PRESIDENT be allowed to usurp the sovereignty of the Gambians. While its political season, Your Excellency, we expect you to lead by example and with dignity. Only one person will be elected as President in Dec 2021 and it is the PEOPLE who will DECIDE,” he reminded Barrow.
Taal urged that the respect for the rule of law and constitution must be upheld by all citizens including President Barrow, whom he [Taal] appealed to, to refrain from making such ‘unpresidential and democratic statements’.