Monday, November 28

November 11 Protest: No Truce in Mediation Efforts as Deadline Draws Nearer

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Kebba Ansu Manneh

Seedy Cham, Chairman Coalition of Progressives Gambians (CoPG) has disclosed to The Voice Newspaper that no truce has been broken in Mediation efforts with stakeholders led by the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC).

The Leader of the much-talked-about protest that is slated for November 11th said Monday’s Mediation efforts that include the Supreme Islamic Council, Gambia Police Force, National Intelligence Agency, Interpol, and Network for Peace Advocacy Group have not bored any fruits so far, adding that talks continued on Tuesday to find out a way out of the situation as dateline for the protest looms closer.

According to him, Monday’s engagement with the stakeholders centered on the need to postpone the protest that officials of Coalition of Progressives Gambians flatly rejected, addin3 that the stakeholders have also promised to facilitate dialogue between CoPG and the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Justice and Interior on the demands of the movement.

“We could not reach any agreement because for them (stakeholders) we should let go of the protest and engage the government through dialogue. However, what we told them is simple, we will only cancel the protest when our demands are met by the government hence nothing has changed or improved on the demands we raised for the government to address,” Seedy Cham, Chairman of Coalition of Progressives Gambians told this medium.

He added: “For us, the only thing that can make us cancel this protest is for the Government of President Adama Barrow to come out and address our demands. We want the government to immediately make a thorough investigation on the deaths of the more than seventy Gambian innocent children of AKI, we want the TRRC Recommendations to be implemented immediately and we want Government to stop the price hike and bring down the prices of food and basic commodities.”

According to him, the mediators have promised to open doors of dialogue with the Ministry of trade on price hikes and on prices of basic commodities, the Ministry of Justice to discuss the implementation of the TRRC recommendations and the Ministry of Interior as the protest is a nationwide protest, arguing that considering the time available for the protest officials of Coalition of Progressives Gambians have flatly rejected this proposal from the stakeholders hence it will take more days to meet all the Ministries proposed.

“We suggested to them that if the Government is really serious about doing something towards addressing our demands, let it come out with a press release that will outline its plans to immediately address our demands based on time-bound. If the Government fails to do this by Thursday, we will communicate with all of our members across the country to go ahead with the protest,” Chairman CoPG told The Voice Newspaper.

He added: “Our doors are still open for a dialogue with the government or any other organisation or association before the dateline, which is Thursday. After Thursday we will not engage with anyone, we will proceed with our peaceful protest nationwide because the hardship that is in the country did not spare anyone and for that being the case every Gambian should be part of this protest, its for the good of every Gambian irrespective of religious, social and political affiliation.”

Chairman Cham continued to call on its members and supporters of CoPG to be vigilant as engagements are ongoing with stakeholders in a bid to ensure that their demands are met by the government immediately, stressing that the protest will go ahead if no truce is broken by Thursday and with or without a permit.

“This is a peaceful protest that has no intention of creating violence in the country but only to keep the government accountable and responsive to the needs of The Gambian people. As Gambians we don’t need a permit to stage a peaceful protest, in fact, we have applied for a permit a number of times but the IGP denied us one. We will go ahead with it without one because it is a peaceful protest organised by Gambians,” CoPG Chief stated.

He added: “By Thursday if Government comes out with a clear roadmap that is time-bound and firmly expressed its willingness to address our demands through a press release how and when it will immediately address the AKI deaths, how and when it will implement the TRRC recommendations, reduce prices of food and basic commodities and address the price hike, we will let go the protest. If it still fails to come out with anything productive, we will communicate with all our members and supporters to show up for a nationwide protest on Friday 11, November 2022,” Seedy Cham disclosed.

The Chairman of Coalition of Progressives Gambians, Seedy Cham, finally disclosed that their doors are still wide open for Government or other stakeholder engagement til on Thursday, emphasising that after Thursday, CoPG will not negotiate with anyone on the planned November 11 protest and will hence call in its members and supporters to protest nationwide.