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HomeGambia NewsGAMBIA: BARROW'S CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENTS CLARIFIED BY OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

GAMBIA: BARROW’S CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENTS CLARIFIED BY OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

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The Office of the President (OP) issued a statement yesterday in an attempt to provide context for President Barrow’s recent remarks at political gatherings in the provinces, which drew widespread criticism and concern.

During his recent tour of the provinces, President Barrow stirred controversy by lashing out at segments of the media and the opposition. Human rights and other pro-democracy groups and activists have expressed concern over his statements.
Yesterday, however, a statement from the White House portrayed a more conciliatory picture of the president’s statement and its significance. It states:

“The president spoke about the events that led to the fatal shooting and the assaults on law enforcement officials and law-abiding citizens. There is evidence that private citizens and members of a political party shared hate speeches, incitement to violence, and personal slander against public officials, including the president, via audio recordings and online postings.
While the president tolerated and ignored the vast majority of negative incitements and hateful statements, the trend continued unabated on social media, websites, and radio.

  • Advertisement – Recent acts of terrorism have resulted in the loss of two young lives, leaving a female police officer battling for her life. President Barrow has abundantly demonstrated his tolerance and peace-loving character, as well as his commitment to democratic values, including the highest regard for the freedom and liberty of people.”

It added: “The Office of the President assures the public that the president is not threatening anyone in any way, but intends to put on record that troublemakers, in the guise of what they are not, will not be permitted to bully opponents, hurl insults, spread hate speech, or incite to “render the country unruly.”

In a recent interview with his governing NPP media team, the President declared that media houses would be held accountable for permitting their audiences during “phone-in programmes” to propagate hate speech, disparage people, or incite violence in the country, regardless of one’s political affiliation. President Barrow stated, “We fought to restore democracy in 2016, so we must not lose sight of that.” The nation cannot advance without adherence to the rule of law. Let us promote the harmony, security, and progress of our nation.

“Therefore, the public and all concerned parties are exhorted to treat one another with respect, regardless of their differences, because they all have one thing in common – being Gambians – and nothing can alter that. All party supporters must recognize that the country elects a new leader through periodic elections and revere the outcome. This does not mean one cannot criticize the current government, but it must be done with respect. He urges the media to utilize their platforms to educate and inform the public.

“In terms of media freedom, The Gambia under President Barrow ranks highly in both Africa and internationally, and it has no plans to reverse this trajectory. However, the media is responsible for providing a platform for divergent views with adherence to the ethics of professional journalism and the rule of law. The media plays a crucial role in promoting national peace and unity.

In light of this, the Office of the President urges all Gambians to uphold the positive democratic values for which we are known, namely mutual respect and the rule of law. We are one nation, one people, and one Gambia. Since The Gambia is our home, let’s conduct party politics with dignity. Together, we can develop our nation, concluded the statement.

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