By Omar Bah
Former Interior Minister has warned the State Intelligence Services (SIS) against attempts to intimidate opposition following UDP’s allegations that the dictectives had tried to infiltrate the party’s event to cause trouble.
The United Democratic Party leader Ousainu Darboe made a very disturbing allegation against the SIS, claiming they had attempted to distrupt his party’s Sanyang politireau foundation laying on Saturday. cal bu
However, the director general of the SIS Ousman Sowe has strongly rejected any such suggestions and assured the UDP and the enire country that his institution has been transformed into a professional entity that will never indulge in such acts. He said the SIS has never even conducted a single arrest since the change of governement in 2017, adding that the SIS’ preoccupation today is to safeguard the peace and the new democracy in the country. DG Sowe said his intstitution has reached out to the UDP to assure them that there was never any such plan to infiltrate their gathering in Sanyang.
However, the leader of the Gambia Moral Congress Mai Ahmad Fatty has taken the allegations with seriousness and warned that “any attempt by the government or the SIS to proceed with plots against the opposition or its leaders as alledged would be regretted.”
“I repeat, if you intend to put this country into flames, you will not survive the inferno. We are ready. Our supporters are ready and willing to follow their leaders to the extreme conclusion,” he told The Standard yesterday.
The former special adviser to President Adama Barrow further warned “no government will be permitted to use the law to oppress people or use the powers of the incumbency to threaten and intimidate because you want to remain in power. As long as you make plans to eliminate others politically or physically, be assured that you are also in full danger of being eliminated politically.
“If you want to imprison us through various pretexts using the courts, you must prepare yourself for a life time of restlessness, uncertainty and insecurity. We will not promote violence. We oppose violence. We will resist violence. Yet, no one can push us around. The way you treat your opposition will determine how the rest of your life will be either in power or after power. Make no mistake about this. The way you value your life, family and comfort is the way we do as well. Any threats to these against us equal similar or more threats to yours. Those days are gone forever when impunity reigned. The Gambia has changed forever,” Fatty tensely said.
He said the serious but credible allegations against the SIS regarding plots to induce and sponsor violence within and among the opposition on behalf of the administration, are to establish a pretext to move against specific targets among the opposition with a view to either imprisonment or bar eligibility to contest elections.
“But only few within the SIS leadership support this sinister plot, led by constable few with close personal and partisan leanings to President Barrow and the NPP. There are divisions among its senior technical cadres on this issue with the majority prepared to undermine its application. This is just another state sponsored terrorism reminiscent of the days of the dictatorship,” he added.
He said the role of the NIA and the “personalities that managed the edifice of terror are known to us all. Some of the same terror architects still operate within the SIS today. A leopard can never dispose of its spots, and so they intend to revert to their old practice of entrapment, plots, terror, misinformation and criminality. The difference this time around, is that we will make sure that the only casualty would be the SIS itself, and not the population. When we say never again, the Gambians will not allow any government or institution to abuse another Gambian. The calamity will fall on the heads of the rogue operatives and their handlers.”
“The fact is, no secret exists at SIS again because there are always those anonymous in the system who disagree with the old system and they remain valuable channels. The positioning of a dedicated spy around my residence by the SIS is part of the bigger plot of 2021. The Gambia is too homogenous and political loyalties exist everywhere in the system. Lack of reforms ensures that people are more loyal to individuals than the system. Key opposition stakeholders and civil society are united on ensuring that no law enforcement agency will develop either the capacity, opportunity or audacity to intimidate and oppress,” he adduced.
Fatty said the Judiciary under Justice Hassan Jallow has brought confidence into the hearts of Gambians from Kartong to Koina, and “a man of such high integrity will not yield to political manipulation. Further, Gambian citizens, civil society and the international community are all keenly watching the judiciary after its disastrous 22 years as a dependable partner in the dictatorship.”
“I urge all stakeholders in the political process to promote and respect the rule of law. I urge law enforcement agencies to remain neutral, honour Republican values and be loyal to the people and the Constitution. Do not allow yourself to be used by politicians no matter how powerful or connected. When things go wrong, they will turn around and victimise you as a scapegoat,” he concluded.