In a forceful speech punctuated by stern warnings against individuals bent on undermining Gambia’s peace, stability, and tranquility, in the name of “ DEMOCRACY” Interior Minister Mai Fatty, vowed that such folks will face the full brunt of the law if arrested. Mr. Fatty, who was reacting to the Farato rioting incident, which caused wanton destruction to properties and injuries described the incident as “an act of mindless violence” meted out to law enforcement.
“It was an act of mindless violence meted out to the members of The Gambia police force, in the due execution of their duties. Officials of the physical planning were also attacked together with the police. I am not taking it. It is an act of mindless violence against law enforcement. It is not acceptable and I am not going to take it,” Minister Fatty said at a colorful guard of honor reception accorded to him by the police, where he unequivocally denounced the conduct of the Farato residents. Communities were also in attendance at the meeting.
“Those who break the law must be dealt with. Such acts are unacceptable. You cannot attack law enforcement for doing their job. We will wage a war against indiscipline and lawlessness. We will not condone acts that will undermine the peace and stability of this country. This is a nation of laws. The laws must be enforced. We will not apologize to the citizens and the people Bafalloto for enforcing the law. We will not apologize to anyone. What the police have done was not initiated by this new government. They were out there to enforce a court order,” said Mr. Fatty.
The Farato rioting happened during Minister Fatty’s absence. He was part of President Barrow’s delegation to Saudi Arabia. He has used his Friday address to side with the police and also call upon citizens to respect law enforcement.
Mr. Fatty noted that Gambians voted for democratic change and therefore it is incumbent upon citizens to respect democratic norms, values, and standards. He said his Ministry will not watch by allowing folks to hide in the name of “new Gambia and democracy” to muddy the well fought change for pluralistic democracy, and respect for human rights.
“You changed the government. You also changed the system. The police are here to uphold and enforce the law. This new government will not shy away from holding you accountable. Some individuals have been breaking the law in the name of democracy. It happens in Bakau, where some youths attacked drug enforcement officers along the beach for merely executing their duties. The new Gambia doesn’t give you the license to smoke weed (marijuana) and use cocaine. The Gambia is a nation of laws and all citizens are expected to abide by the law. These are decent men and women of the police. An attack on the police, will not be tolerated anymore. The police should be respected. The new Gambia comes with new responsibilities. You must protect and defend the law,” he posited.
Minister Fatty admitted that the Gambia, has a long way to go when it comes to educating its citizens about the role of citizens in a democratic dispensation. And he said, Farato is of no exception.
“Farato represents a realistic challenge in educating our people about democracy. Citizens need to be educated about their role in the maintenance of law and order. The police’s role is to maintain law and order,” he said.
Mr. Fatty said those behind the Farato incident have been arrested and will soon appear in court. He noted that under his leadership as Minister of Interior, folks arrested will not be detained for more than 72 hours.
“People arrested will be granted bail within 72 hours. The police will not arrest anyone without probable cause,” he said.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai