By: Nyima Sillah
In his televised New Year message, the Commander-in-Chief and President of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow stated that The Gambia is a multiparty democracy and citizens can legally contest for public office if they wish.
“The Gambia is a multiparty democracy, and citizens can legally contest for public office if they wish. To do otherwise amounts to treason and carries severe penalties,” HE stated in his broadcast message on Saturday 31st December 2022.
According to him, Gambians have lived through a military regime, and they know how military takeovers have destabilized, disunited and isolated countries within the sub-region that struggle to live with them.
HE Barrow expressed that “It is regrettable that a handful of soldiers recently planned to overthrow the democratically elected government of the day. The devastating consequences of illegally overthrowing a constitutionally elected government can never justify the means employed, nor the ill-advised purposes for such deadly crimes.”
He, therefore, expressed gratitude to the Intelligence Service and the GAF High Command for boldly and promptly taking action to foil the plot.
“They have demonstrated that, if we are united and vigilant as patriotic citizens, we will safely defend our country and continue our development programs.”
He went on to say that “These are times for national reconciliation and consolidation of our democratic institutions, and not time to revert to lawlessness, subversion, and unconstitutional tendencies, Because there are effective measures to ensure that justice prevails, all unlawful acts, mob justice inclusive, will not be tolerated.”
He continued: “Wherever we may be, we must take charge to make our environment safe and maintain peace, law, and order.”
Meanwhile, he said the Security Sector Reform program has progressed in building the capacity of the country’s security forces. He noted that the Armed Forces are being re-oriented and motivated to enhance their role and responsibilities to assure maximum security in the country.
However, he added further that at the international level, The Gambia is in the limelight again. Adding that their partners appreciate the Government’s efforts to promote and protect democracy.