Peace and Security concerns Regional bloc in Gambia’s crucial transition process

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A day after the European Union mission in The Gambia officially condemn and refrain itself from any group that attempt to remove a democratic government, the West African regional bloc, Ecowas has also called on the country’s stakeholders to stick together and maintain peace and security.

A statement from the bloc’s Permanent Mission in The Gambia, it says it has been monitoring the various protests being held in the country by the 3-Years-JOTNA, 5-Years-JOTAGUL, the APRC and other intended protests by the 3-Years-JOTNA again on 19 January 2020 and the Gambian Victims Centre in Banjul on 23 January 2020.

The protests stem from a campaign promise President Adama Barrow made to Gambians, as agreed with the coalition 2016 political party leaders that he would lead the country for three years and organise a fresh election, when he became president.

Pressure group, Operation 3 Years Jotna is one of the groups to start pressuring President Barrow to respect the 3-year mandate promise and step down at the end of the three years. They were earlier granted police permit to conduct a peaceful demonstration from the outskirts of Jeshwang to Denton Bridge at the entrance to the capital, Banjul, where they handed their petition to the government spokesperson.

its second intended protest this Sunday have been postponed after a negotiation brokered civil society organisations.

Operation 3 Years Jotna is calling on President Barrow to respect the three years mandate agreement with Coalition 2016 leaders and step down

The bloc says although the string of recent protests have so far been peaceful, the it wishes to categorically state that it is totally against any group or party that seeks to undermine the constitution of The Gambia and by extension any group that seeks to forcefully demand the removal of any constitutionally and democratically elected government, which contravenes the provisions of the ECOWAS 2001 Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

“Furthermore, the ECOWAS mandate requires the Mission to facilitate dialogue and initiatives that will ensure peace, security and stability in the country. The Mission’s engagement with civil society groups, religious groups and other stakeholders in respect of the current developments have all been geared towards this direction.”

On Thursday, loyalists to former President Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) party demonstrated in demand for the return of Mr Jammeh to the country and calling on the UN, Ecowas, AU and authorities of the agreement they had with him (Jammeh) before his going into exile in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea after losing the 2016 election.

“Deliberate misinformation, distortions and falsehoods about the true and otherwise positive overtures by the Mission aimed at sowing seeds of discord between ECOWAS and Gambian stakeholders and other relevant actors, must be ignored,” the statement said.

APRC loyalists are demanding for the return of former President Jammeh from exile and the 2017 agreement with authorities be respected

It stated that the ECOWAS Mission will not give credence to any group that seeks to be a source of instability, emphasizing that any distortions by some actors in respect of previous engagements by ECOWAS must be ignored. “The Mission once again wishes to assure Gambian stakeholders and citizens at large that it will continue to facilitate dialogue, peaceful co-existence and stability and put in the necessary measures to enhance a stable and secure environment for national development.”

The Mission says it remain seized within its mandate to work with the Government of The Gambia, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, and other relevant stakeholders to peacefully resolve any issues that have the potential to undermine the peace, security and stability in the country.

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