EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The convergence of thousands of pro-government protesters along the highway to Gambia’s capital city, Banjul in support of a five-year constitutional mandate for President Adama Barrow on Sunday signaled a formal introduction of supporters to his newly registered National Peoples Party.
The president was confined by the 2016 coalition agreements one of which dictates a three-year transitional term, although, he was sworn to a five-year constitutional term in January 2017.
But he formally rejected these commitments when he had his white horse, and dark-grey as logo and colour to his party, approved by the Independent Electoral Commission on the eve of 2020.
The subject of transitional term came closer to its climax in December when Operation 3 Years Jotna stormed the outskirts of Jeshwang with overwhelming crowd calling on Barrow to stepdown this January.
In its petition to the president, Gambia for 5 Years and Peace Building described the recent protestcalling on him to step down as unconstitutional.
“We wish to humbly remind your Excellency that you have taken a solemn oath to protect and uphold the Constitution of The Gambia. Serving the mandated term of five (5) years is a manifestation of upholding and protecting the constitution. We the majority of Gambians expect you to do just that”, it says.
Copied to both national and international authorities including Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and Dean of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, the petition “call[ed] on [the] government to take firm steps with a view to ameliorating the negative effects of three (3) years Jotna Movement’s scare-mongering tactics.”
Barrow took solitarily route after the structures of the coalition government began to collapse with the firing of its key stakeholders including leader of the GMC, Mai Ahmed Fatty in 2017 as interior minister and Coalition Chairperson, Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang as vice presidency in 2018.
The internal modification that saw leader of the United Democratic Party shifting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the vice presidency didn’t also last. Ousainou Darboe and party member Amadou Sanneh then Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs received matching orders to join former Minister of Agriculture, Omar Jallow to form rubbles of the most popular coalition in the country’s political history.
The two opposing groups on the transitional mandate, after having demonstrated their muscular strength in pulling crowds in thousands during the first round of protests, leave the public in signals of civil unrest.
While the United Democratic Party has since been identified as the apparent backstop of the three years pressure group in petitioning president Barrow to relinquished power this January, the counter group is believed to be at the mercy of president Adama Barrow. However, neither of the two has publicly admitted these political patronages.
In reaction to this, Operation 3 Years Jotna threatened to go back to the streets with larger crowds should the president ignore their demands.
But the Gambia for 5 Years and Peace Building stressed on Sunday that it will hold him accountable if he shall ever yield to those demands for failing to protect and uphold the constitution.
As it stands, the fight over a transition term is gradually shifting from the solders of political parties and coalition stakeholders, to newly formed and largely informal pressure group.
Story written by Ebrima Bah