The cry by so-called activists or opinion makers that July 22nd should be allowed to be celebrated in the Gambia are nothing but an affront to our democracy. Just for one of the many reasons, Jammeh’s actions in 1994 to forcefully remove a democratically elected government from power is an illegal and treasonable offence which he should be charged for today. How then would it be legal for the current government to allow illegality to be celebrated in a democracy?
We have got to get the point, in as much as we want freedom for all, we should carefully differentiate between legal issues and freedom. July 22nd event was a Coup D’etat and in the two constitutions 1979 and 1997 respectively, it was ILLEGAL hence, the right to ban its celebration in the country.
We all have an opinion and it’s everyone’s absolute right to voice it, however, it’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard the peace and security of our nation. So as a matter of fact, those who claimed to be activists should know that illegality in 1994 is illegal in 2017. And going on the social media spewing out conflicting messages which could potentially lead to violence in the country all in the name of “my opinion” is reckless and thoughtless. An opinion should be kept to oneself, especially when that opinion will endanger the rights and life of others. This is by no means censorship, but if an opinion threatens the peace of a nation, it MUST be silenced.
As for those who follow politics in the UK would remember the firing of a highly controversial radio presenter and columnist Katie Hopkins during the 2017 UK General election campaign from LBC radio as one typical example of preserving peace and security over a hateful and divisive opinion. Also, there are laws in at least 16 European countries, including Germany and Austria that criminalises the denial of the Holocaust and all these are for the purpose of preserving the peace and honouring the victims of such hateful crimes. Would it then be right to even contemplate for a second that the UK or Germany has no freedom of speech? Of course not and yet still most of the so-called activists reside in these countries who ought to know better.
It was only in January this year that some of Jammeh’s crimes were committed and some are still searching for their love ones they couldn’t find them. The April 10/11 victims have not even received an official apology from the government more so justice. The country’s economy was essentially brought to its knees thanks to Jammeh. The country is largely divided on tribal and religious lines all because of that heinous man. Africa in general is the least developed continent in the world, partly thanks to endless coups and dictatorships that engulfed the continent for far too long. Yet the so-called activists who lost sense of relevance want the government to allow the gratification of such a barbaric criminal at the expense of the victims. I think they should think twice before they speak on matters of such importance.