When Has Right To Expression Become a Crime?

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The recent arrest and detention of a group of protesters for protesting without a permit is a cause for concern for Gambian citizens. The citizens should have a right to expression by way of protest.
All it requires in democratic countries all over the world is just to inform the authorities of an intent to protest and the authorities will put in place mechanisms that will protect the protesters and those against whom they protest.
Citizens must have avenues to express their disagreement on government policies and other aspects of how they are govern; if people cannot have that right, then one needs to properly examine the kind of system we have.
The laws that are baring citizens from such rights of expression and subjecting citizens to forcefully comply with such poor and bad government policies (laws) are not fit for good governance and rule of law.
All the reasons for our laws be revisited and amends to catch up with the civilised world. The ministry of justice need to speed up the holistic review of our laws which are no longer a match to international standards.
The recent developments should be a warning to the Coalition executive that they do not own the Gambian people and therefore thay cannot decide for the people. What the Executive members can do is to conceive ideas and bring those ideas to the people for approval.
“Three is Jotna” which translates that the three years is up and therefore the Adama Barrow government must start packing and honour their promise to the nation. If the Barrow government insists then what ever they have in terms of negative re-bouncing will be their own making and history will judge them soon or later.
The fact that concern citizens are trying to hold their government accountable to its campaign promises, demonstrates how aware the citizens are.
The group that is likely to appear before a court soon or later is only one of many; so what government needs to do now is not to arrest and prosecute. That is not the solution to the problem; government needs to dialogue with her citizens over the issues of the three years jotna now and avoid any confrontations.
Government should also know that these 15 people are not the only members of the 3 years Jotna group; the intelligence should be able to inform the government that there are bigger and more groups than this 15 people.
In 2016 a group of 18 took to the streets and they were rounded up at Westfield some if not all of them were seriously tortured and that led to the killing of Solo Sandeng instantly. Many victims later also die. The regime was the worst dictatorship of the times but the peaceful, protesters were able to bring the dictatorship to an end.
If the dictatorship was able to deal with the situation maturely without the use of an excessive force they would have still be in office.
But subjecting the innocent and peaceful protesters to brutality, and for the government to sentence them all to three years imprisonment terms for not just a good case, cost them their government.
Now a lesser number of peaceful protesters are said to be charged and supposed to appear before the courts; we only hope that no torture were inflicted on their bodies as we are not under a worst dictatorship.
The world is watching the small Gambia under a new dispensation.

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