The United Democratic Party says the nation’s seat of power, State House, has now been turned into a partisan stomping ground under the leadership of President Adama Barrow.

The party was reacting to “inflammatory” comments by Hamat Bah, the minister of Tourism and Culture, who on Saturday branded the opposition as ‘rats’ and claimed his fellow tribe men and women were being treated as foreigners when they apply for national documents.

“UDP is deeply disappointed that the State House, the symbol of national unity and sovereignty that is maintained by Gambian taxpayers money, is now a partisan stomping ground where the President and his acolytes congregate to waste scarce national resources in the time of COVID-19.

“UDP is concerned that under President Adama Barrow a Cabinet Minster can stand at a political rally and make serious allegations about systemic discrimination against a Gambian community without a shred of evidence,” the party said in a statement.

“What is the modus operandi of the Barrow Government? The rule of law requires due process to be followed in all cases?

“If the allegations, the Minister has made, are true then it is a significant indictment of the Barrow Government for incompetence and or failure to protect Gambian individuals and communities in the enjoyment of their human rights.

“The proper thing to do where there are serious allegations of rights violations or systemic abuse of power is to investigate and establish the facts of the case not to stand on a podium and make incendiary comments and baseless allegations. This is a nation of law and not demagoguery.”

“Systemic discrimination against any Gambian community must be condemn by all Gambians and the President and the Cabinet must do their jobs and take all necessary corrective actions as soon as such systemic abuses are exposed and or complaints are made. This is what the rule of law is all about,” it added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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