By Bekai Njie
President Adama Barrow as part of traditions on Friday met the Banjul Muslim Elders Association in which both parties unanimously disproved Gambians using social media to throw insults at their fellow Gambians, describing it as disrespectful and uncultured.
“Criticise when you disagree with us but do it with respect and within the cultural values we are known for,” President Barrow, in reacting to concerns expressed by earlier speakers about the social media insults, said in his address to the Muslim elders.”
The elders on Friday morning were dressed in their finest clothes for the observance of the Muslim Eidul Fitr, which the president also observed at the Banjul Central Mosque grounds with most of them. They were to continue to the State House after the prayers to hold discussions with the leader that continued for hours into the afternoon.
He reminded them that being a dictator is the easiest thing that any leader can turn into once in power. “To arrest people who disagree with you or send them to prison is the easiest thing that someone in power can do. But being a democrat is much difficult because you have to listen to everything – whether you like it or not,” he said, adding that his government has fully embraced democracy so everyone can live in freedom and without fear.
Alieu Mboge, chairman of the association earlier told the president that they have been keenly following the developments of his government since they met him last year at his base in Fajara.
“The social media rantings are not the best of hearings we deserve as a country and a people. The interactions it create for all users is a good thing but punctuating these interactions with scorn or insults must not be condoned,” Mr. Mboge said.
He explained that they have noticed this as elders and wish to bring to the president’s attention their total disproval of those insults against the leader or his government and officials, just in the name of democracy. “It is okay to criticise but it must be done with respect and through a dialogue approach,” Mr. Mboge added.