Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the APRC party leader who is also the Speaker of the National Assembly has criticised “the impulsive and dishonest behaviour” of the UDP leadership for issuing a press release on Monday condemning the police and chastising him.

In the release, the UDP upbraided the police for using disproportionate force and tear gas “on peaceful citizens” holding a social event in Tallinding on independence day and claimed that since the appointment of Jatta as speaker, the “politics of weaponisation of state institutions” in the Jammeh regime have made a comeback.

In his reaction, Speaker Jatta issued this statement: “Mr [Ousainu] Darboe’s unfair attack on me, as the leader of the APRC party and as Speaker of the Assembly, insinuating that I was leveraging my position as speaker to weaponise The Gambia Police Force against public functions, compelled me to respond.

“…[T]he UDP leadership was using the incident to further their typical agenda — to criticise The Gambia Police Force as a tool of the government, claim victimhood as usual, and seek sympathy from the Gambian electorate, which is increasingly disillusioned with their visionless and hopeless future.

“Why did the UDP fail to acknowledge the fact that the so-called “splinter group of the APRC,” also known as No-To-Alliance Movement, deceived The Gambia Police Force in their application to organise a political gathering under the guise of a civilian fundraising activity at the ‘Buffer Zone’? “Evidently, The Gambia Police Force authorised the gathering based on the permit issued to one Omar Colley of Abuko, the organiser of the ‘fundraising occasion’, which the so-called No-To-Alliance Movement intended to use for a political gathering and illegally leverage the name and symbols of the APRC party, registered with the Independent Electoral Commission. Despite strict warnings from the IEC to cease using the APRC name, logo, and symbols as campaign material or at any political function, these individuals repeatedly violated it with deceptive measures, as they did last Sunday.

“When The Gambia Police Force later realised that Omar Colley had deceived them in his application, not identifying himself as a member of the No-To-Alliance Movement, they had no choice but to revoke the permit and request dispersal. Known for their reputation for challenging authority akin to the UDP, they adamantly refused to disperse and insisted on proceeding with the event using a falsified permit. This resistance prompted the police to employ necessary, not ‘disproportionate’, force to disband the gathering. There’s no need for The Gambia Police Force to apologise for fulfilling their duties,” Speaker Jatta asserted.

Source: The Standard

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