Political and human rights activist, Pa Samba Jow, has described President Barrow’s recent comments against his political opponents and the country’s democracy as worrying, saying Gambians should be concerned.

Addressing NPP supporters on Monday at the unveiling of the party’s political bureau in CRR North, President Adama Barrow said the country’s democracy is getting out of hand. “Now things will change. The disrespect and nonsensical talks geared toward destroying my country are getting too much. But all that will soon be over because, henceforth, you will have a new President Barrow.

Your hatred for President Barrow should not give you the audacity to insult people working for the government. We will not take that anymore, and I will inform the Inspector General of Police to arrest any individuals who attempt to create chaos in this country and put them in one place,” Barrow said.


But reacting to the president’s comments in a Standard exclusive, Pa Samba Jow said: “We should be concerned. Unfortunately for Gambians, we never see beyond what is before us. In 2017, when HalifaSallah warned that if the government is not properly guided, we may return to dictatorship, he was vilified for having the audacity to say that, but today, we are seeing all the signs. The biggest threat to any democracy is a leader who is thin-skinned. If you don’t believe me, ask the United States, where the election of a thin-skinned president, Donald J Trump, threatened nearly 300 years of democracy.”

Jow further observed he was neither surprised nor disappointed that Barrow would make such utterances.

“This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last. The statement is repugnant and a threat to not only freedom of speech but also to the democracy we are trying to nurture. There can never be a ‘too loose democracy’. Of course, there are people constantly whispering in his ears ‘you have to be firm; Jammeh would’ve never allowed this’. But just maybe the president needs a reminder that the 22-year-long and difficult struggle against Jammeh’s brutal dictatorship was to usher in a democracy that guarantees the unfettered right to freedom of speech as enshrined in our constitution. My advice to the IGP and the entire security force is to remember the proceedings of the TRRC. They must never allow themselves to be used by anyone, be it the president or any politician, to abrogate the rights of Gambians,” Jow added.


He added that the president’s comments simply mean that “if we, the citizens, remain nonchalant, we could very easily lose our freedoms.

“It is my fervent belief that Barrow is determined to crack down on his opponents and dissenting views. In fact, they have been trying to do that for the past few years. Looking at how the government hurriedly wanted to link the vicious murders of the two PIU officers to Yankuba Darboe shows a government that is finding every opportunity to pounce. Unfortunately for them, that theory fell flat on its face,” he said.

He said the country’s transition to full-fledged democracy is a risk, not only because of the utterances by Barrow but also because all the ingredients for a return to dictatorship are in place.

“The repugnant laws, the enabling environment, and, of course, a security force that has no problem carrying out orders from the top,” he said.

Source: The Standard

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