Monday, February 24, 2020

How Are Rights And Duties To Be Balanced In A Democratic Society?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

This is a question that has to be addressed by the Barrow administration and the Gambian people at large. It is a question that is yet to be addressed as competing interests demand for the public space.

The month of January could be said to be a month of mass orderly demonstration that has so far ended peacefully without any fracas between the police and demonstrators. Two movements first took the main road from Stink Corner to the bridge to make contradictory demands. It is not clear whether the size of the crowd is to determine the decision of the authorities or the content of the petitions forwarded to them. Another procession was held by a political party which did not go beyond 100 metres from the Sukuta Traffic Lights Junction. The victim centre and its associates are also promising to take to the street to make their presence in the public space felt. Hence political parties as well as civil society are fully active in the public space to make demands to the authorities.

The decision to withhold the issuing of permit to ‘Three Years Jotna’ is still challenged by the movement. No press statement has been issued by the Abdou Njie group in The Gambia. The PRO however has told West Coast that they intend to pursue their rights and that he believes that the police will eventually give them a permit. On the other hand, the police had earlier indicated that the permit is being withheld because of security concerns. This is further buttressed by the minister of the interior who further called on the movement to resort to the courts for redress rather than going to the streets without permit.

The police talked about withholding of permit which could be interpreted that permit would be issued when the security concerns are allayed. It is therefore a duty of the leadership of the movement to liaise with the police and ministry to find out what they need to do to allay fears of any security threat. Foroyaa is monitoring the situation and has been trying to reach out to Mr Njie to find out what they have done so far to address their challenges.

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