It is now getting close to a week since the violent confrontation between supporters of the coalition government and the opposition APRC which left several people injured and scores of cars utterly destroyed. The country’s security forces are yet to effect any arrest on the individuals who provoked the attack. Meanwhile the injured and those who were caught in the melee are still nursing wounds and worried about the collateral damage resulting from the incident.
Speaking to journalists in the aftermath of the incident, the police spokesperson, Superintendent, David Kujabi said one of the reasons why no arrest is yet to be enforced stemmed from the fact that his office is still investigating the incident. ‘This is a delicate balancing act, remember so many people were allegedly involved so we have to be careful about what to do especially when it comes to party politics’ said Supt. David Kujabi.
During an early morning appearance on the morning show on StarFM radio with Pa Nderry, one Babou Cham, a commercial driver claimed that he was caught in the chaos last Wednesday in Busumbala. He disclosed that he and his passengers were severely beaten by an angry mob which left most of his passengers with serious bruises. Cham called on the authorities to swiftly arrest the perpetrators for the alleged crimes they masterminded last Wednesday.
The Busumbala incident has attracted widespread condemnations from several Gambians and has upped the ante in the fledgling democracy the Gambia is experiencing following the ouster of long time dictator, Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh was defeated by a solidified opposition front led by Adama Barrow in the December 2016 Presidential elections. The incident has left several people speechless and worried about the way Gambians are paying for their new found freedom of expression and assembly.
Many political observers stressed that the Barrow government needs to take security seriously and understand the political situation in the country is still very tense. Historically, the aftermath of brutal dictatorship creates security vacuum and severe tension between political opponents who were victims of the brutality and remnants of the dictatorship. The reality is that it is much harder for a Democratic government to deal with security than a brutal dictatorship. The dictator usually doesn’t care about the rights of citizens and trample upon those rights regardless of the consequences. A democratic and open society on the other hand, requires more strategic approach and restraints in dealing with unruly citizens. The current government must therefore find a balance to allow citizens to exercise their democratic rights while jealously guarding the security and safely of citizens. The wounds of dictatorship are still fresh. Both sides of the political spectrum must be held responsible for the conduct of their supporters. Security is paramount and must be provided where necessary at all times regardless of the cost. The rights of political activists stops where that of other citizens starts. Security cannot and must not be compromised!
Filed By Demba Baldeh courtesy of our Banjul based correspondent