By Kebba Ansu Manneh
The Coalition of Progressives (COP) has vowed that “with or without a police permit it November planned nationwide protest will go ahead,” aimed Police refusal to issued permit for a planned November 11th nationwide protest.
A statement obtained by this medium stated that the office of the Inspector General of Police is influenced by President Adama Barrow’s 2021 campaign messages that after the election “no protest will be allowed in the country.”
The coalition of Progressives (COP) is calling on President and his government to immediately address the daily price hike of fuel, food, and other essential commodities in the country, as well as set up a commission to thoroughly investigate the illegal opening of the special security account and the misused of public funds amounting to D669 millions without following procurement procedures.
COP is also asking the President to hand over the National Audit Report to the IGP to investigate the Banjul rehabilitation project and prosecute the perpetrators involved, while calling on the government to publish the report of the joint committee that investigated the deliberate burning of the Fisheries Ministry in December 2019 where valuable equipment, assets, important files, and even cash books were all burnt to ashes.
COP called on the National Assembly to prioritize the Anti–Corruption Bill and pass it into law, noting that these above-mentioned concerns motivated them as a group to apply for a police permit to embark on a nationwide peaceful protest to manifest their grievances against the government of Adama Barrow.
COP further raised concern that it is unfortunate to realize that the olden days of dictatorship are still alive and kicking, observing that maintaining the old styles of administration will be a huge setback to the country’s democratic process.
“The office of the Inspector General of Police’s decision to deny us a permit and flimsy excuses of s security reasons shows that our democracy is under attack from the Barrow led Government. If you could recall back in 2021, President Barrow made a statement about the issuance of police permits to groups who want to protest to manifest their grievances or what he called the daily politicking will stop if he is re-elected,” Coalition of Progressives observed.
“We believe that the IGP is now executing Barrows’s promises to please his master. Therefore, if we condone this blatant abuse of power it means Gambians have again compromised their freedom and rights which would lead the country to another terrifying and autocratic leadership,” the statement added.
According to the group, the results of compromising the liberty and rights of Citi would be catastrophic for every Gambian if police continue to deny them permit to express their grievances, calling on Gambians to come out in their numbers on 11th November 2022, for the nationwide protest that vows to hold the President and his government accountable for the dire situation confronting the Gambians.
“We call for a massive peaceful protest scheduled on Friday 11th November 2022, to show our outrage against the daily hikes of fuel cost, basic food, and other essential commodity prices. We believe that denying people to raise their concerns about corruption democratically in the country will fuel more corruption,’ it further stated in the presser
We cannot afford any mistake again that could lead us to another dictatorship, the outcome of which will be a disaster for all of us. “If the current decision of the IGP stands, it means that the citizens will be further denied from protesting against anything such as the poor healthcare system which is causing mass maternal deaths, poor electricity, and environmental devastation caused by greedy corrupt public officials,” COP pointed out.
COP vowed to re-apply for another police permit and will deliver the application to the office of the IGP again, noting that they are following due process of obtaining a permit not because they are cowards but rather exercising their constitutional right and freedom to be protected by the Police.
“In that regard, we hereby renew our call for all patriotic Gambians to join us in our quest to curb the endemic corruption in The Gambia. This group will continue to put pressure on a total curb down to corruption and mismanagement of public resources.
To hold the government to account, citizens must also be bold and put political differences aside to come together and protect the country from corrupt politicians. Massive public support could help us bring about both economic justice which will create a positive environment and equity for all citizens,” the statement concluded.