By Team Gom Sa Bopa
On Monday 29th July 2019, youth movement, Team Gom Sa Bopa organised a press conference on the recent civil unrest in Brikama, Serrekunda and Bijilo sparked by the #OccupyBAC movement and the death of two youths allegedly by Security officers. The press conference was attended by representatives of the late Kebba ‘Daddy Boston’ Secka’s family and members of the movement #OccupyBAC. During the press conference a set of 10 demands were presented by members of Team Gom Sa Bopa.
10 Point Demands
There is no justification for a Police Officer to initiate brutal physical force against any suspect in their custody. The Police are duty bound to care for every single person held in their custody. We believed that beating suspects in custody would have ended with the fall of former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime and not a continuation of events.
Given the situation we hereby present our demands in addition to the recommendations from Amnesty International published on 2nd day of May 2019. With this in mind we demand for the Gambia Government to;
- Collaborate with Civil Society to immediately implement meaningful security sector reforms to restore confidence in the security sector,
- Commission an independent investigation composing of sufficiently skilled investigators and to prosecute all security personnel involved in the ill treatment of Kebba Secka and Ousman Darboe for failing to avert his untimely death. The investigation should also investigate security personnel for failing to arrest the suspect who fled after stabbing Kebba Secka and all incidents of torture and ill treatment by security personnel,
- Warn all security personnel to identify themselves before effecting arrests. Arresting civilians without identification is a practice which must stop immediately. Security personnel must desist from unlawful arrests, torture and brutal treatment of people,
- Caution all security personnel to follow due process and to respect detainee rights such as providing them with legal representation, informing family members and loved ones of their arrest and desist from detaining people beyond the 72 hours period,
- Repeal all sections of the Public Order act which infringe on people’s rights to protest as detailed in Amnesty International’s demands,
- Implement the NDP objective for decentralization and for local governments to be more transparent and accountable to their electorates. This also aligns with the NDP objective of ‘making The Gambia a digital nation and creating a modern information society’.
- Effect the temporal closure of the Anti Crime Unit (ACU) who’s members were pictured in plain clothes, masks, armed with AK47s and other weapons pending appropriate reforms. Reforms are also needed urgently for the Police Intervention Unit as any more loss of lives will escalate already heightened tensions,
- Effect the immediate resignation of the Interior Minister and Inspector General of Police for failing to protect the lives of people in their jurisdiction. It must be recalled that the Interior Minister pronounced at the President’s rally in Brikama that “hot water will be sprayed on rude protesters”. This highlights the urgent need for security sector reforms to include sufficient checks and balances on the appointment of these positions which must not be politicized,
- Restore confidence in the security sector by suspending all security personnel that confess to gross human rights violations at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission pending an investigation. Gambian taxpayers cannot afford to reward human rights violators with a monthly salary, and finally
- Collaborate with a more proactive National Assembly Standing Committee on Defense and National Security to implement urgent changes which will protect lives of people in The Gambia.
Gambia Government promises as detailed in the NDP (2018-2021)
We call on the Government to reaffirm its promises and commitment to “The Gambia National Development Plan (2018-2021)” which states that:
“The Government’s vision for the “new Gambia” is a country that upholds the highest standard of governance, accountability and transparency; where social cohesion and harmony prevails among communities; citizens enjoy a standard of living and access to basic services to enable them to lead descent and dignified lives; youth, women, children realize their full potential, and a nurturing and caring environment exists for the vulnerable; there is an enabling environment for our private sector to thrive; and our natural heritage is nurtured and preserved for future generations.”
The goal of Government under the plan is to “deliver good governance and accountability, social cohesion, and national reconciliation and a revitalized and transformed economy for the wellbeing of all Gambians”.
- “Restoring good governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, and empowering citizens through decentralization and local governance;
- Investing in our people through improved education and health services, and building a caring society; and
- Reaping the demographic dividend through an empowered youth.”
- “Making The Gambia a Digital Nation and creating a modern information society; and
- A civil society that is engaged and is a valued partner in national development.”