“Following the unlawful arrest and detention of 7 GDC party representatives and their family members yesterday, Hon. Alhajie Sowe – GDC NAM for Jimara; Councillor Manneh, newly-elected councillor for Julangel ward and others were arraigned before court in Basse on trumped-up charges of incitement to violence and criminal trespass.
The incident which gave rise to the unlawful arrests of the GDC reps was precipitated by the actions of UDP supporters who are unable or unwilling to accept the fact that voters in Jimara exercised their democratic right to choose a GDC councillor to represent them in Julangel ward.
On arrival at the scene, the police failed to take account of both sides of the story, instead arresting the GDC reps and charging them with crimes which, if they are found guilty, would prevent them from taking up office as elected representatives. This is a politically-motivated act designed to instil fear in our elected representatives and in our supporters. GDC therefore condemns these illegal arrests in the strongest terms possible. The era of arbitrary arrest and intimidation is over. We will not be cowed nor will we sit idly by to watch this orchestrated effort to thwart the will of the people of Jimara.
GDC will take all legal actions necessary to defend its representatives and will seek justice on their behalf against those who have sought to deny their rights for nefarious political motives. GDC stands for and respects the rule of law and democratic principles of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and will always defend these rights against any person or institution wishing to deny Gambians of these rights.
In the meantime, we applaud the IEC and the electorate for running a fair and transparent election. It is a shame that an incident like this, a real stain on an otherwise peaceful process, has taken place yet again at the birthplace of President Adama Barrow.”
Hon Mamma Kandeh
Leader of the GDC