By: Foday Manneh
In the earlier hours of Sunday afternoon, the Vice Chairman of Basse Area Council, Yuba Jawara was reportedly taken into Police custody in Basse for allegedly inciting hate speech against the URR Governor and was questioned by regional law enforcement officers on this matter.
Yuba, who is part of a youth advocacy group demanding the appointment of a native of the Upper River Region as Governor said he was called by Police on Sunday about a WhatsApp audio he made which was seen as inciting hate speech.
“I received calls from the Commissioner of Police (Jesus) who enquired about my conduct as an authority and said I should be careful in engaging myself into activities that could create chaos in the community,’’ Yuba said.
“He asked me whether I was called by the CID office, but I responded No! He told me well, I had released a WhatsApp audio that could amount to hate speech.’’
“A few minutes later, the CID office called me to report to the station. I went and was there for three hours where I was subjected to a lot of questions and answers.”
“I was informed that I organized an unlawful gathering without permit, much more in a public place like Council (BSAC). They said I cannot organize an advocacy campaign that might erupt into violence because I am advocating to unseat a legitimate Governor based on their analysis.’’
“I was also asked about my involvement in any advocacy WhatsApp group where this particular audio was generated from and whether I have been participating in this page. I said Yes!
“I told them I made audio to advocate for the Governor to be a native. I confirmed all that. But this audio where I said I am not scared of the Governor was seen as hate speech and these are some of the audio people will send to them (Police).”
However, below is the full version of the said audio sent to TAT.
“We are all aware of what is going on in the region right now, but our position is clear. The advancement, development, and changes can only be brought to URR if we take ownership of our region. The misunderstanding, division, and fractions among ourselves are inspired by those Governors appointed to our region as non-citizens.
Many people are supporting this campaign, but because they are scared of the Governor, they cannot speak their minds. I will urge GBoS to survey to establish the truth on this, I will tell you that 100% of the people will support having a native as a Governor. The people are scared and are allowing others to think for them. The people of URR should not be scared of anyone.’’
Yuba further said that his advocacy was consumed out of context by many and vowed to continue to speak as no amount of intimidation, arrest, or jail can stop him.
‘’The people forwarding these messages to the Police are not sending the full context of my message. I made it specifically clear that we are advocating for a position that is politically appointed, but not positions based on merits, specialization, or qualifications. We have no problem with civil servants coming to serve our people from any part of this country.’’
“It is our constitutional right to advocate for good representation and that will be exercised fully. We are not violent.’’