It is important for Gambians to fully understand what is meant by ordinary crime and civil disobedience. It is civil disobedience that became so mighty that it resulted in a state of ungovernability leading to change of government in Egypt, statelessness in Libya and what kept Sudan from having a stable government since Bashir was removed by the military as a result of an uprising.
Those in charge of intelligence in the country must be able to understand the nature and characteristic of civil disobedience in a country in order to advise how to contain it. Civil disobedience is not a simple law and order issue. Once a crowd becomes uncontrollable to the extent that maximum force to contain it would require bullets, then other measures must be taken to diffuse the tension rather than drawn the country in blood.
Every civil disobedience starts with a spark. However, once the crowd enlarges, different interests tend to converge. The hugeness of the crowd will often serve as a cover for more serious crimes to be committed. The longer the duration of the civil disobedience the greater the destruction. If the civil disobedience has a political motive, it is transformed into a rebellion and the Arab spring type of scenarios which often lead to the ungovernability of countries.
Now that the body of Ousman Darboe has been laid to rest and calm has returned to KM, the security advisers should go back to the drawing board and find out how to prevent reoccurrence. Civil society should examine the risks and the dangers of violent confrontation. Many more people could have lost their properties especially at the Serrekunda main market and more government installations could have been destroyed at the expense of the tax payer. What must be done is find civil ways of addressing civil concerns.
Militarist ways could only lead to destruction of life and properties. First and foremost, the state must avoid selective justice which is characterised by mass arrests and prolonged detention only to end up without any evidence to present, that would lead to the conviction of those arrested.
Hence the proper thing to do now is to diffuse any possible source of tension. We therefore anticipate releases of those arrested and a commission established to review what happened, the losses incurred and the compensation merited as a result of those losses. The security sector reform should be speeded up and new civilian security relations enhanced to ensure the exercise of rights in a peaceful and accommodating environment without any threat to internal and external security. This is the way forward.