New York Letter With Alagi Yorro Jallow: Political Paranoia And The Public Order Act Is Tearing Gambia Apart

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Alagi Yorro Jallow

Fatoumatta: There’s a total abuse of the Public Order Act to stifle civil society and opposition political activities. Those youth activists must be released immediately and unconditionally because they have violated no law, instead the police and those issued orders are the very complicit violating the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Gunjur environmental activists.

Fatoumatta: The Public Order Act is an archaic law and should be repealed. And it is also very clear that the police are not acting independently and professionally in administering this imperial Public Order Act.

Fatoumatta: A democratic political dispensation cannot function effectively and efficiently in this way. If we truly value democracy, we must put an end to this abuse of the Public Order Act which is rendering civil society and the opposition impotent. The government of President Adama Barrow is quickly drifting towards a de facto dictatorship. This Barrow administration is increasingly becoming a dictator in form or name and in substance. It’s not enough to not allow civil society groups or opposition to carry out meaningful political activities among the masses of the people.

According to Mental Health America – symptoms of paranoia and delusional disorders include intense and irrational mistrust or suspicion, which can bring on sense of fear, anger, and betrayal. Some identifiable beliefs and behaviors of individuals with symptoms of paranoia include mistrust, hypervigilance, difficulty with forgiveness, defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of being deceived or taken advantage of, inability to relax, or are argumentative.

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Fatoumatta: I am deeply persuaded that some of our elected leaders, political commentators and the usual political bloggers suffer from some form of paranoia and or delusional disorder. A delusion is an odd belief that a person firmly insists is true despite evidence that it is not.

Paranoia involves intense anxious or fearful feelings and thoughts often related to persecution, threat, or conspiracy. Paranoia can become delusions, when irrational thoughts and beliefs become so fixed that nothing (including contrary evidence) can convince a person that what they think, or feel is not true. Because only thoughts are impacted, a person with delusional disorder can usually work and function in everyday life.

Fatoumatta: It is common sense that the security forces, especially the Gambia Police Force needs reform and that reform can only be concluded through a legal process, preceded by political negotiation by all stakeholders. This irrational suspicion among our leaders means that they cannot sit down and discuss the future of police without street protests and violence.

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Fatoumatta: President Barrow and his government believes that it is only through street protests that his administration can be removed. President Barrow and his politburo have an intense defensive attitude and its supporters are preoccupied with hidden motives, including an imaginary “coup” by the civil society group and the opposition. It is common knowledge that the President Barrow want some reforms effected on our electoral infrastructure and the Public Order Act. Irrational mistrust is preventing this from happening.

Fatoumatta: A political system where only the ruling Govt can freely hold meetings and carry out political activities among the masses cannot claim to be a democratic. The Gambian people struggled hard to have a democracy, a political dispensation and democracy can’t be circumvented in this way.

Fatoumatta: It’s a fact that the overwhelming majority of those in this Govt today were not part of the people who struggled for the reintroduction of democracy in the Gambia. But they have a duty to respect the sacrifices of our people and their desire to live in a democracy.

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Fatoumatta: It is a fact that many politicians and blind supporters of this Govt have not hidden their preferences for dictatorship and see a democratic political order as a nuisance, a disturbance to their stay in power and self-enrichment. As a result, they are doing everything possible, including abuse of the Public Order Act, to frustrate civil society activism, opposition political work and to destroy democracy.

Fatoumatta: Mass paranoia, and delusion is also tearing our country pieces. That paranoia is spread by hate mongers and sycophants and given meaning by political bloggers and ordinary Gambians amplifying it in online groups. The grandstanding by this government is also delusional and must come to an end. The Gambian security forces are beyond delusional, we need not discuss them here.

Fatoumatta: The Gambian people have already lost lives. It is only in societies where madness reign that leaders become complacent with the sufferings of ordinary citizens.

From: Jollof News

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