EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Members of the pressure group -Operation 3 years Jotna- said they are not backing out from their three years mandate campaign against President Adama Barrow, calling him to respect the agreement he had with members of the Coalition 2016 and step down this December.
At a press conference convened at Semega Janneh hall in Tallinding on Monday, the group members also asked the Coalition chairperson, Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang to immediately withdraw her statement on the extension of Mr Barrow’s office mandate from 3 to 5 years.
“We are maintaining our initial position and are calling on the president to honour his three-year term and step aside in December, as agreed with the coalition leaders,” one of the group members Hajie Sawaneh said.
On Friday, majority of the eight-member party coalition that brought President Adama Barrow to power in the 2016 general election, except for the United Democratic Party (UDP) and The People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), agreed to extend his mandate from three years as agreed, to five years, saying Mr Barrow never asked for the extension.
Agreed at a meeting held at State House in Banjul, the coalition chairperson, Mrs Jallow-Tambajang said they will continue to stand for the country and champion its cause.
But Mr Sawaneh said the team that former vice president and chairperson of the Coalition 2016 went with to President Barrow on Friday, to extend his mandate to five years have no right to do so.
President Barrow came to power in 2016, ending 22-year rule of exiled former dictator Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of serious human right violations and corruption. In July 2017, Mr Barrow instituted a Commission of Inquiry to probe into activities of institutions and bodies in connection to their financial dealings with Mr Jammeh.
Since the Coalition three years mandate agreement and the coming of Mr Barrow to power, there has not being serious campaign from the Coalition body itself for Mr Barrow to step down this December, but several groups, including “Operation 3 years Jotna” have been asking him to respect the agreement and step down in December for a fresh election to be conducted.
Mr Sawaneh said the Coalition members should have first hold a proper consultation with Gambians before taking the decision to extend Mr Barrow’s mandate in office, saying in 2016, Gambians did not only vote to remove former President Yahya Jammeh but also for system change, saying the coalition agreement has failed. He said President Barrow has also failed Gambians in all his promises.
At their Friday meeting at State House, Mrs Jallow-Tambajang said their decision to extend President Barrow’s social legitimacy followed two years of consultations with all stakeholders both home and abroad, saying that was not solicited by president Barrow.