“The procession will be held in a no-man’s land but we will use that opportunity as well to exercise our fundamental political rights,” he said yesterday during a press briefing organised by the UDP Youth Wing.
“At the end of the procession,” he explained, “we will hand over petitions to the National Assembly Secretariat and the Office of the Attorney General. However, should it become evident that the procession might not get to the locations on time for delivery of our petition to the relevant authorities, an advance party will proceed to the said locations to submit our petition.”
It would be recalled that the UDP Youth Wing on 2 March 2023 requested from the office of the IGP, a permit to hold a procession demanding that action be taken against the numerous cases of corruption revealed in the audit reports of the past years. Consequently, the police have granted them a permit to protest. The planned protest is scheduled for Friday 10 March 2023 starting from Bund Road Junction (opposite Jah Oil) to the National Assembly first gate, opposite the Christian Cemetery.
The objective of the procession, Drammeh went on, is to call for investigations into the numerous corruption cases referred to earlier. “It’s clear to all concerned Gambians that, without pressure from the opposition parties and civil society, the current administration will not investigate, prosecute and sanction the authors of the pilfering of our national resources.”
The UDP, true to its values, he said, has decided to take the lead again in holding the government accountable and demanding restitution of the embezzled resources by all those found guilty, at whatever level they might be.
According to the youth leader, “The UDP Youth Wing is naturally disappointed by the new proposals of the police authorities. However, in a spirit of conciliation and undeterred by these manoeuvres geared towards frustrating its attempts to exercise its constitutionally guaranteed rights of peaceful demonstrations, the Youth Wing decided to accept the less-than-satisfactory suggestions and hold the procession to further demonstrate to the nation and the international community its loyal and responsible stance.”
He continued: “We do hope that future requests for permits, should that become necessary, will be treated differently and our proposed itineraries and schedules will be respected and granted as requested. This is a fundamental right and the role of the office of the IGP should be restricted to providing security to protect the lives and properties of the demonstrators and the general public.
“Furthermore, the IGP is not entitled to hold the organisers of a demonstration collectively liable for the individual’s actions of some demonstrators, who could infiltrate the demonstration to serve as agents provocateurs or rogue demonstrators. The role of the security forces would be to apprehend those individuals and prosecute them accordingly.”
He posited: “We will do our utmost to neutralise such rogue demonstrators but cannot be liable for their actions, which are antithetical to the objectives of our peaceful demonstration.”