Every government in the world readily claims that it would show zero tolerance to crime. However, no nation in the world is crime free. Those that use the most draconian measures like the Philippines are more crime infested than most countries that maintain more tolerance.
It is therefore important for a government that aims to contain the type of demonstration which occurred in the Kanifing Municipality to prioritise law enforcement so that it does not alienate the youth. The speech of the minister aimed at diffusing tension is the right step in the right direction. It must be followed by a study of the type of activities young people are engaged in and why they are so engaged. This will enable the state to know which areas of conflict with the law would require urgent public attention.
Strong arm tactics such as forced labour, torture and other inhumane and degrading punishment before any court appearance should not be made a norm. Sensitisation should be conducted for the youth to understand that any destruction of public property would lead to the imposition of more taxes to replace such properties. It goes without saying that if demonstrations are followed by looting, the youth will be presented to the shopkeepers as delinquents aiming to harm their fellow citizens.
Lessons must be learnt from the experience that law enforcers must respect the law in the discharge of their duties and young people must respect themselves and use means to combat injustice that would earn them the respect of others. This is the way forward.