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This is the biggest insult one can tell us. Minister Mballow should just man up and take full responsibility for his total lack of competence and sense of direction.

You as the interior minister, President Barrow, VP Tambajang and IGP Kinteh must take full responsibility for this mess. Stop using the young officers as scapegoats and sacrificial lambs.

The president as the chief administrator of our country has refused to show leadership from the onset of these problems. As a result of his incompetence, he failed to exercise due supervision over his cabinet and government including ministers responsible for mining, lands etc to ensure these matters are resolved from the onset before they escalate into where we are today. Your lack of visible actions made communities lose confidence in the due process while the threat to their livelihoods and environments continue unhindered. This has been your trademark from your first day in office.

These killings we saw in Faraba are a direct byproduct of your inability to effectively and timely respond to and manage even a single of so many similar incidents before it. You do not have to be physically involved. But you must understand that delegation comes with taking full responsibility. Since last year, we had seen from Kanilai to Farato to Busumbala to Kotu to Gunjur to Sanyang, from Nuimi to Jimara to Faraba. None of these saw a leadership that is ready and responsive to the concerns and cries of our people. A similar situation could have arisen in the coastal communities from the environmental destruction there which would have been a concern for any serious leader. Citizens who out of frustration removed the toxic pipes of Golden Lead are being paraded in court while those responsible for the destruction of millions of our fish are given green light to continue their destruction unabated. What message is that sending to us as citizens Mr president?


The Vice President as the head of the National Security Council has failed to abreast herself with the security challenges of the country including these environmental and communal land problems which had seen series of confrontations between communities and between communities and security forces. The national security council should have assessed these threats and patterns to understand that they are all potentials of breaking down law and order to impact on our fragile peace and security. What is the role of the intelligence agencies who should have assessed these and advised government accordingly?

Minister Mballow as the internal security minister, has failed to take full stock of our security issues and put in place sufficient mechanisms and contingencies to defuse and manage them before they become a full crisis. Being aware of the fact that we are just emerging from a challenging 22 years under Jammeh where our security forces were both ill-trained and ill-equipped, one would have assumed that your first role along with the IGP would have taken full stock of police inventories including assessing the level of preparedness to deal with maintaining law and order in a democracy where the police will be community and service oriented. Their logistical needs to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to the citizens would have been a top priority for any serious leader. Bilateral and multilateral partners like UNDP, EU etc would willingly support such strives to replace their current riot gears with non-lethal equipment if the government cannot.

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It is unimaginable how after seventeen months in office, our PIU can only rely on their 20th-century riot gears and tactics. As the minister of interior, you must take full responsibility for this which is the direct reason why the officers on the ground had to resort to the use of live rounds on unarmed protesters primarily because there were no alternatives.

For IGP Kinteh to say that he did not issue orders for the use of live rounds, I see that to be insulting and cowardice. You had deployed the officers to Faraba in the heat of a problem that could have been resolved through dialogue among stakeholders. Why had you made this decision? What were the anticipated threats and what role was the PIU going to do to resolve the issue? What was their ROE and what mechanisms and logistics are at their disposal to carry out their assigned role in Faraba? As the head of internal security, you should have advised the politicians and the beaurocrats to apply other defusing mechanisms including the suspension of the issue of contention which was sand mining. Any basic Conflict Resolution and Mediation training would have given the same steps. The police would not have taken any visible presence or role in this. Their presence would only have been a last resort and in that, they would not take any confrontational roles but engage in de-escalation with even community friendly uniforms.

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Now that the officers found themselves in the middle of a riot, they can only respond according to how the situation presents itself according to their available resources and training.

The honorable thing for you all to do is to own up to your inactions and miscalculations and take full responsibility for everything that happened including the loss of lives. Do not scapegoat the officers who were in imminent danger and only acted based on their training and the limited resources you provided them. Wa salaam.

By: Mustapha Ceesay 

Watch the full interview here: https://www.facebook.com/eyeafricatv/videos/1294145340717998/?hc_ref=ARRDvEQto1q6GI7yRwzX87X8mliIj2Hh4YRrbZckypzLY5D7y5JPF6qdKKOp1OHPL2c

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