GAMBIA PROTESTS: PRESIDENT BARROW URGED TO RESIGN,ORGANIZE FRESH ELECTIONS
A pro-democracy group popularly known as “3 years jotna” which translates in the local wollof dialect as “3 years, it’s time”, Monday took to the streets demanding that President Adama Barrow honours the coalition agreement which propelled him to power in December 2016. The pressure group has since last year made public its intention to hold nationwide protest after president Barrow reneged on his principled decision to honour the pack he’d signed with six political parties and one independent candidate. Monday’s protest drew diverse public opinion as to whether it was really necessary. However, the group surprisingly proved doubters wrong as it attracted a huge crowd of symphatizers who thronged the main road which leads into the capital, Banjul.
According to the chairman of “3 years jotna” Abdou Njie, the primary objective of Monday’s protest is to deliver the group’s official petition letter to the president demanding that he steps down in honour of the three year coalition agreement. “If anything, this protests and the crowd here is a reflection of people’s dissatissfaction with the president, he failed us and he must leave. We are peaceful concerned citizens who want nothing but to hold our leaders to account. We want him to honour the agreement”.
Njie hand delievered the petition to the government spokesperson Mr. Ebrima Sankare who was received by the angry protesters with boos and whistles.
Speaking to journalists, popular human rights activist and social commentator Madi Jobarteh, said Barrow’s presidency has been but a missed opportunity.
“What we have come to see is Barrow going against his own promise and adopting some practices of te former regime, not in terms of arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances, but with the disfigurement of the rule of law, lack of transparency and misuse of public resource”.
In their petition to the president, the group said:
“Any negation from fulfilling the Coalition 2016 agreement, would amount to treachery and fraud, which would not be done against just your Coalition partners, but that of the many Gambians who voted for you on 1st December 2016 model, which could serve as a paragon fpr many countries and generations to emulate and emancipate themselves from the shackles of dictatorships and tyrannical rules”.
With the country’s security still in a fragile state, protesters sighted numerous events which they say has not been handled well by the Barrow administration.
These include the rise in murder, theft and rape cases. His supporters, however, argue that President Barrow is the country’s most tolerant president who has set out a number of reform processes majority of which are at the final stage.
Meanwhile, protesters warn that if the president refuses to respond to their demands by the 10th of January, they will call for nationwide protest on January 19th 2020.