They’ve been ‘doing their thing’, turning away from political controversies but not anymore. In a rare move, scores of Gambian celebrities have taken to social media to express disapproval over the state crackdown on opposition protesters.
Tens of opposition figures were arrested and detained in separate protests on Thursday and Saturday, including Ousainou Darboe, leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party.
News of the rumoured death in prison of a protester has stirred an outpouring of national and international condemnation that swept away some celebrities.
Nancy Nanz, who once dedicated an album launching to the president’s son, called for a regime change in the country. But the post didn’t survive more than 48 hours. She deleted it and apologized.
Gibou Bala Gaye, the most outspoken rapper in the country, reacted to the events by uploading a black photo. The former minister of health and social welfare, Fatim Badjie also did the same.
Veteran rapper and producer, Mo Hawk, expressed his solidarity with the protesters by sharing an image incorporating the colors of the Gambian flag. According to him, he is working on a song to address the “political turmoil” in the country.
“After hearing the peaceful demonstrators got arrested and tortured, one killed and some in coma, I must say we need change,” he said.
His friend and former band member, Da Graduate also weight in, calling for a regime change.
Former Miss Gambia-USA, Yassin Faal posted: “If you are silent about human rights violation then you are supporting the oppressor rather than the oppressed.”
Ibraheem Ceesay, a youth leader, wrote on Facebook: “My fellow Gambians, especially the youth, as your Chairman and Youth Leader, let's get to the streets on Monday 18th April 2016, for a PEACEFUL protest.”
He was widely condemned for misleading young Gambians.
“It's ludicrous to call for protest while you are nowhere close. The best way to bring changes is to get involve,” said blogger, Alhagie Balla.
One of Ibraheem’s friends, event organizer Haddy Faye was not also on the same page with him. She called for an end to the rumour mongering online.
“Neng nyu musal rek. Been getting calls from people in Senegal asking about if I am ok.”
Comedian Dr. Baba Ja condemned Gambians in the Diaspora for instigating young people to take to the streets.
He said in a video: “Don’t push people, if you don’t want to go. I don’t want to see the country plunge into a civil war.”
Famous social media commentator, Haddy Conteh seems to agree with Baba Ja. She called for calm.
The government of The Gambia is yet to release any statement on the arrest of the protestors and the alleged killing of one of them, Solo Sandeng.