The United Democratic Party (UDP) is appalled and dismayed by the vile threats of President Adama Barrow hurled against Madi Jobarteh, especially that such threats were issued at a solemn religious occasion marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. His statements betray every teaching of the religion of Islam that is always reconciliatory, especially at such times.
Madi Jobarteh is a citizen of this country, whose only crime has been to differ in opinion with the President and his government and openly stating his disagreements with civility. Every Gambian, has a constitutionally guaranteed right to think for themselves independently, form and express opinions thereof that may not necessarily be in line with that of the government.
We want to register our condemnation of these unpresidential statements of Adama Barrow, which is well beneath the office of president of the republic and consequently below the expectations of any responsible person.
President Adama Barrow has used the most powerful bully pulpit as offered by the highest office of the land to negative effect. He hides behind his privileged position and the honoured office of the head of state to hurl threats against his perceived critics and opponents.
Because of the power of the office he holds, we share Madi Jobarteh’s concerns in fearing for his life and personal safety and equally call on the Inspector General of police to abide by his mandate and oath of office to protect the lives and properties of every citizen and resident of The Gambia.
Madi Jobarteh is no stranger to offering constructive criticisms of public office holders and aspirants of public office. Even though such criticisms may be hard to swallow sometimes, our democracy is better for it. And as fervent believers in democratic governance, we recognise, support and encourage the likes of Madi Jobarteh in seeking to make us all better versions of ourselves. We have disagreed with him in the past and will certainly disagree with him in the future, if there is a cause for such, but that will be no reason to threaten him. We stand firmly in solidarity with him in his exercise of his constitutionally guaranteed right.
The UDP wishes to make it abundantly clear to President Adama Barrow that attempts to intimidate or instil fear in Gambian citizens for simply expressing their God given rights, will not be accepted or tolerated. The UDP will stand with any citizen of this country to ensure that this country does not slide back to the old ways/days of the dictatorship of the past.
During the last presidential campaign period, President Adama Barrow vowed to put an end to what he called “endless rallies” in this term of his presidency, which by extension is an assault on the freedom of expression and assembly of every Gambian. This verbal assault on Madi Jobarteh is a clear manifestation of his desires to carry out such threats.
The Oath of office for Presidency pledges to provide protection of every Gambian, their security and personal safety. We remind the President that there is no law in this land that enjoins or empowers him to threaten the personal safety or security of any Gambian. We therefore urge the President to live by the oath of his office.