The United Democratic Party has condemned the recent arbitrary arrest and detention of the party’s campaign manager, Momodou Sabally, who was arrested on Wednesday by the police for interrogation following a video he made on social media about how they (UDP) are going to unseat President Adama Barrow from power before the Local Government Election which has caused chaos.
However, the party issued a statement yesterday challenging the illegal arrest of Mr. Sabally.
We hereby reproduce the full statement issued by the party: “Mr. Sabally in his capacity as the campaign manager of the United Democratic Party is within his rights to express his desire for a change of government from the manifestly inept NPP government to one more responsive to the needs of Gambians.
This in fact is the primary objective of the opposition in any democratic nation. In the said video, Mr. Sabally, clearly stated how this would be achieved, which is through debunking the misinformation and false accusations of the ruling NPP that the current regime hangs on to maintain its influence in power. How can such a wish or expression lead to an arrest in a supposedly democratic nation?
As a vocal citizen with strong political views, it has been long established that he chose the political path to install the change he wishes for his country.
Therefore, what does the Inspector General of Police aim to achieve by effecting the arrest of Mr. Sabally after the police were dictated to effect such arrest by an NPP political stooge on social media?
Under what constitutional provisions are such expression criminal warranting the arrest of an opposition politician in a supposedly democratic nation? Executive power and the power of the state are not entrusted to individuals so that they can carry out a personal vendetta against persons they dislike, the law should be just and fair and not used as a tool of repression as is becoming too common with this administration of President Adama Barrow, especially against the opposition United Democratic Party members and we demand an end to it immediately. We ask that all international observers take note and take action before it is too late. The entire speech of Mr. Sabally from which the 19 seconds video segment is extracted is 10.54 minutes long, in which Mr. Sabally asked the UDP supporters to be law-abiding and desist from any action that would tarnish the image of the party and its leadership.
He said the UDP will take over the reins of power from Barrow in the forthcoming local government elections by recruiting more members to form the majority. He specifically mentioned the re-election of the KM Mayor and Banjul Mayor because of the developments achieved since their ascension to power.
The short-edited video circulating on social media is not an accurate, true, and fair representation of Mr. Sabally’s statements. The short video is a complete misrepresentation of the context in which the statements were made.
There is no indication that Mr. Sabally in any way stated or suggested that there be a change of government through any unlawful or illegal means.”