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Gambia:Protesters call on Barrow to step down

December 17, 2019

By Bakary Ceesay

Government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh received the petition on behalf of President Adama Barrow

The leadership of “3 Years Jotna” march protesters has o, handed over a petition to the Gambian authorities demanding President Adama Barrow to honour his campaign promises of 3 years transitional mandate.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets wearing “3 Years Jotna” T-shirts, caps and banners marched from Sting Corner to Denton Bridge where a petition was given to Mr Ebrima Sankareh, the Government  Spokesperson who received the petition on behalf of the President.

“We are here today to submit the petition but if he ( President)refuses to step down on the 19 January, there will be mass demonstrations,” Sheriffo Sonko, an executive of 3 Years Jotna said.

There were heavy security presence especially the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) at the Denton Bridge whilst the protesters were chanting slogans for the President to step down.

Meanwhile, the President is expected to respond to the petition letter before 19 January, 2020.
Below the full text of the petition reads…
3 YEARS PETITION HANDED TO ADAMA BARROW

Our Ref: ​Petition/16/12/2019
Your Ref:

16 December 2019


President Adama Barrow
Office of The President
State House
Marina Parade
Banjul, The Gambia

Your Excellency,

Re: The 3 Years Transition Pledged and The 3 Years Jotna – The Petition

On 14 October 2016, you signed a memorandum of understanding with six political parties and one independent candidate of the Gambia, which set in motion the formation of what later became Coalition 2016. The motivation for such a momentous initiative was spurred by national interest over all party or individual personal interests, at the time, as it was encapsulated in the preface of that agreement, which reads:

“We, the signatories of this memorandum comprising the representatives of the member parties of the Gambia Opposition for Electoral Reform (GOFER), the aspiring Independent Candidate from the Civil Society and the invited participants from Civil Society, putting their differences aside, in pursuance of the supreme National interest, do here agree” …

Thereafter, on 30 October 2016, you were elected, as the flag bearer of the opposition Coalition of that six political parties and one independent candidate, agreeing to adhere to the Coalition’s Memorandum of Understanding, which was published the next day on 1 November 2016 confirming the formation of Coalition 2016, grounded on the following principal terms. These were that:

i. the elected flag-bearer of the Coalition would contest the 2016 election, as an independent candidate for the Coalition with no allegiance to any one political party of the coalition;

ii. the flag-bearer, once elected as President, shall head a transitional government for 3 years, as President;

iii. the flag-bearer, once elected as President, shall organize and supervise presidential election, at the end of the 3 years term, which he will not participate as a candidate until after the first term of his successor.

Your excellency, in countenance to that MOU Agreement or acquiescence to the same, on 3 November 2016 you wrote a letter of resignation to the United Democratic Party (UDP) – the party you belonged at the time and was representing – to confirm your resignation from that party, in adherence to the terms of the Coalition MOU. As a result, you became the Coalition Flag Bearer for the Presidential election of 2016.

You further confirmed your countenance to the Coalition MOU in your subsequent Manifesto document for 2016 presidential election, in which you pledged:

“………, I (Adama Barrow) have offered myself  as an Independent Candidate  who will serve for only three years at the head of a broad based and inclusive  Coalition Government aimed at conducting Constitutional, institutional and administrative reforms that would establish the foundation of a democratic system of administration that would put an end to the culture of impunity and self-perpetuating rule and usher in an era for Gambians to enjoy liberty and prosperity  under a system of government that is sensitive and responsive to the needs and aspirations of its citizenry.”

This was further reiterated in your political campaign posters, which were inscribed with the same pledge that:

“Adama Barrow does not aim to be a President for life but is committed to serve as a transitional President for 3 years to consolidate democracy and create a level playing field for parties to contest elections.”

In addition, you and your Coalition 2016 campaign entourage toured the length and breadth of the Gambia, reaffirming that pledge to serve 3 years transitional government, after which you will hold presidential election, which you will not be a candidate, and will graciously hand-over power to whoever is voted – by the Gambian people – as your successor. You promised this was necessary to create a level playing field for the foundation of a genuine democracy in the Gambia, in which – at the outset – was not aided or influenced by the advantages of incumbency of the incumbent president.

Your excellency, we the supporters of that 2016 presidential election Manifesto and Campaign Pledge, and the principals of your Coalition 2016 Agreement, at the behest of whom your Coalition partners, who entered into that agreement with you were acting for – as supporters and members of their various political parties namely: UDP, PDOIS, GMC, NCP, PPP, and GPDP; we seize this opportunity to remind you of the terms of that agreement you entered into with us.

We wish to emphasise to you the significances of the terms of that agreement to our national interest, which – as we noted above – will help our country to establish a genuine democracy, founded on a presidential election, that was unfettered by the advantages of incumbency.

Your excellency, the Gambian people desires for such a democratic foundation in the Gambia, which you agreed, promised and pledged to deliver for them after 3 years. That 3 years has now dawn on us without any signs of your willingness to commit yourself to the full implementation of that agreement, promise and pledge to us. Thus, your excellency, as concerned citizens and supporters of the Coalition MOU, we have now mobilised ourselves under the brand name of ‘3 Years Jotna’ (which translates to mean: “it’s now 3 years”), dedicating our course to the implementation of that agreement entered between you and our political party representatives. Thus, we send you this petition, as members and supporters of that course, to remind you that, it is now 3 years, which marks the end of your transitional government, as agreed and affirmed by the Coalition MOU 2016 and affirmed by your Campaign Manifesto of 2016.

Your excellency, we now demand an announcement from you to the Gambian people before the 19 January 2020, as to when you intend to hold the Presidential elections agreed, in which you will not be a participant and will remain impartial without favour for any candidate of that election and will hand-over power honourably and graciously to whoever emerges as the victor of that election.

Your excellency, we refuse to accept that you have already made such a decision to negate on our agreement, affirmed by your 2016 Manifesto and Campaign Pledges. And for the sake of our country and its prosperity, we hope you have not. For the Gambian people will not batter their future for yours or any other President. Thus, it is important that you take time to ponder on that announcement very carefully.

Your excellency, whilst pondering on that announcement, we crave your indulgence to factor in the following significances of the 3 years transition to the Coalition Agreement 2016. Without which, we assert, there would have been no Coalition of opposition parties in 2016. And without the Coalition Agreement of 2016, there would have been no victory against Yahya Jammeh. 

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