By: Mustapha Jallow, Nelson Manneh and Makutu Manneh
Gambia for Five Years and Peace Building Sunday took to the streets and demanded that President Adama Barrow should stay in office barely a month after Three Years Jotna asked him to step down.
According to the Movement, The Gambian leader took a solemn oath to protect and uphold the constitution of The Gambia, therefore serving the mandated term of five years is a manifestation of upholding and protecting the constitution.
“We the majority of Gambians expect you to do just that,” they said in a petition to the President.
They added: “It is our fervent belief that the three (3) Years Jotna Movement’s recent protest and petition calling for you to step down and the threat for another mass protest on the 20th January 2020 is unconstitutional.”
Fatoumata Jawara the Parliamentarian for Tallinding Constituency said she was at the protest march in her capacity as a concerned citizen.
She remarked: “I’m here as a concerned citizen and everybody knows what I went through. I’m not also showing solidarity to the President, but am here to defend the constitution.’’
According to her, the country does not belong to ‘Three Years Jotna’ alone, but to all Gambians; and that the right ‘Three Years Jotna’ have is the same right everyone has as a Gambian.
She added: “My colleagues (National Assembly members) are also here and they are here as citizens to defend the constitution.’’
She continued, “We have many agreements and even the NAMs were supposed to be independent candidates and serve for a transition period of 3 years.”
Jawara wondered why the ‘Three Years Jotna’ movement chose to talk only about the agreement that states the President should step down after serving three years in office, and not the other agreements entered in to by the Coalition.
Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress Secretary General Henry Gomez said he joined the protesters to express his constitutional right as a citizen.
“There is no back gate here. Anyone who wants to take this government from us must past through the right gate. The constitution has made it clear that the president should serve for five years,” he said.
Amadou Samateh the Minister of Health said Gambians have come out to exercise their rights and that was a good move and is another form of sending message.
“People have different beliefs, and for me, I believe in the five years mandate given by the constitution and am here on my individual capacity to defend the constitution,” he said
The health minister said quite a number of Gambians want President Barrow to stay for five years and he also wants him to stay for five years.
“Why I want him to stay for five years is because I have reviewed what was happening here before. This was just when the commissions were established. When this government came in to office, no one knew that this was the scope of the disaster and human rights abuses and all of these things need to be done and completed”, he said.
Minister Samateh said he believes that if things are left half way, it could be disastrous and the Gambia belongs to everybody.
“Let the President be allowed to continue with his constitutional mandate. We didn’t know that this was what was happening in this country, so we have found out what has happened and need to solve it,” he noted.
The protest march led by the secretary general of the movement Ebrima Sorrie Bah started at Sting Corner at 10.00 am and ended two hundred metres away from Denton Bridge where they were met by Gambia Government Spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh, who received their petition to the President.