Thousands of Gambians on Sunday stormed the Banjul highway calling on President Adama Barrow to “stick to the Constitution” and serve a full five year term in office.
“The Gambia for Five Years and Peace Building in collaboration with their partners such as the Peace and Stability group wish to petition you to complete the five (5) year presidential term mandated by the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia,” read a petition handed over to government Spokesperson Ebraima Sankareh after the pro-democracy group ended their protest march few meters before reaching Denton bridge, which links Banjul to rest of the country.
The tiny West African nation is increasingly being locked into an escalatory path of multiple dangers as the Three Years Jotna (Three-Year is enough) movement and the Gambia for Five Years and Peace Building are standing on firm ground and continue to push ahead with their respective agenda.
In their missive addressed to President Barrow, the supporters of the five-year constitutional mandate emphasized that country’s Fundamental Law made it mandatory for any elected President to serve a five-year term.
Despite facing difficulty in moving around in a wheelchair, Mariama Jarju, a physically impaired person, braved the sun in order to make her voice heard.
“I ’m here to protest for President Barrow to stay in power for five years. Those who are in for five years are in support for peace that’s why I followed them. I’m a disabled person who cannot run when there is tension; so the best thing for me is to join the Five Years and Peace Building movement and not the Three years Jotna,” she told this medium as she remained unshakable in her resolve to follow the tough itinerary.
The initiators of the Three Years Jotna movement have issued an ultimatum to President Adama Barrow, urging him to step down before January 19 or face the risk of being removed. They vowed to stage series of civil disobedience actions if their call is not given a favourable consideration by the Presidency.
National Assembly member for Talinding Fatoumata Jawara, who also spoke to this medium, challenged the legality of the decision taken by the Jotna movement to remove a democratically elected President.
“Their position is not legally grounded. More importantly, the country does not belong to them alone,” she said. “We are all born under the same sun and we have the same rights..”
The Gambian leader has already signaled to his supporters his intention to complete his five-year term, saying he “swore twice by the Holy Qur’an, in Dakar and in The Gambia, to defend and act according to the national Constitution.” He then added: “Under these circumstances, I cannot accord the Coalition Agreement preference.”
Presidential Youth Adviser Do Sannoh told journalists that he has decided to throw his weight behind the Gambia for 5 years movement in order to defend the Constitution.
“I am defending my Constitution,” he voiced out. “The mandate is five years. That is what I voted for.”
Sannoh warned those planning to use ‘undemocratic means’ to topple the government to be ready to face the full force of the law.
“The law is here for all of us!” he exclaimed.
As tension is brewing across the country’s political spectrum, calls are intensifying for reason to prevail.
Veteran footballer Baboucarr Ceesay commonly known as Maya called on all Gambians to make sure that peace continue to rule in our hearts and minds.
“We should not turn politics into a dirty playground where insults and name calling are the order of the day,” he said. “President Adama Barrow is elected to serve five years. Those who want to challenge him should wait until the end of his term.”