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Gambians abuse democracy and free speech, said civic education official

DA

BANJUL, Aug. 9  The conduct of many Gambian citizens living home and abroad is becoming a cause for concern due to their abuse of freedom of expression and misconception of democracy, experts have said.

These Gambians have been seen involved in the spreading of hate speeches via social media sites in the pretext of freedom of speech since the new government took over in January.

In one of his citizens engagements held recently in the coastal community of Gunjur, southern Gambia, Yusupha Bojang, a senior civic education officer at the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) described the phenomenon as "fearful."

He said many people abuse the freedom of expression which is one fundamental principle of democracy, by insulting or directing inflammatory remarks towards their opponents and those they share different opinions with.

According to him, the 22-year-old regime of the most feared leader Yahya Jammeh left Gambians ignorant about democracy.

"Democracy does not mean castigating one another. This is how it has been largely perceived by many Gambians in what we called New Gambia. This abuse of freedom of expression has a potential to create conflict. This is why we are targeting 20 communities in the Southern Kombos to transmit a clear message on the true meanings and values of democracy," he told this paper on the sidelines of the training ground.

Bojang described democracy as a general contribution towards nation building and not about castigating, abusing and insulting people or directing inflammatory remarks towards people in the pretext of democracy.

He emphasized that there had been a change of government but laws remain.

Demba Jobe Touray, Chairman of Gunjur Village Development Committee, said as citizens it is prudent for all to try and improve the status of the country and not to be waging attacks on one another which he said may retard the development of the country.

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