A mammoth crowd of protesters marched on Monday from Sting Corner to Denton Bridge calling on Gambian President Adama Barrow to honour his Coalition 2016 promise to serve 3 years in office. Under the banner of Three Years Jotna (TYJ), demonstrators expressed opposition on the Gambian leader’s decision to remain in power until the end of his five-year constitutional term.
“We want the Gambian story to be a success story. But if we allow President Adama Barrow to get away with this unchallenged, what will happen is that he will do all kinds of unscrupulous tricks to entrench himself in power,” Yankuba Darboe, a leading voice of Three Years Jotna, told this medium.
Since the endorsement of President Adama Barrow’s mandate by members of the 2016 Coalition, the country’s political temperature has been rising, with some political parties and groups opposing Barrow to serve beyond three years. One organization that has vehemently opposed President Barrow’s reneging on the agreement was move the Three Years Jotna Movement whose leaders bashed Coalition stakeholders for allowing President Barrow to disrespect the 2016 Coalition MoU.
Mr. Darboe wondered why The Gambia has only two presidents in 53 years. Unfortunately, all of them were forced out of power.
Commenting on Barrow’s resolve to fulfill his constitutional mandate, Mr. Darboe said the Constitution did not say the President must serve five years in office which would have been a command.
Former longtime Gambian President Yahya Jammeh lost to Barrow in December 2016 election, putting an end to the former’s two-decade long rule. But cracks started to appear on the Coalition 2016’s wall ahead of the April 2017 Parliamentary elections after Coalition partners deadlocked on competing on independent tickets.
“We wish to emphasise to you the significance of the terms of that agreement to our national interest, which would help our country to establish a genuine democracy, founded on a presidential election, that was unfettered by the advantages of the incumbency,” reads a Three Years Jotna petition seen by this medium, and which was handed over to Gambian authorities.
The Jotna movement further stated their plans to scale up the protest if the status quo remains the same, issuing an ultimatum to President Barrow to declare on 19 January 2020 the date he is going to hold elections in which he is not going to take part.
Alhagie Dembo Saja Krubally, who came all the way from Germany to throw his weight behind the Three Years Jotna, urged Gambians to do everything possible to maintain peace in the country.
Isatou Njie of Banjul, who was on the frontline, said Three Years Jotna has sent a clear signal to Gambian authorities. “It is time to regulate The Gambia!” she exclaimed.