By Omar Bah
Members of the Three Years Jotna movement, whose case was withdrawn by the government in the “spirit of reconciliation”, have commended their lawyers and all those who supported them.
The group was formed to put pressure on the president to respect the three-year term he and the Coalition promised in 2016 which the president apparently failed to respect.
In January last year while staging their second protest, things turned ugly when violence broke out. The Movement blamed the chaos on the government’s high-handed handling of otherwise a peaceful protest. But government said some of the actions and the venom in rhetoric of the protesters are unlawful and started a criminal case against the movement’s leaders.
However, the government announced last week that it has put a halt on the criminal proceedings against the group as “humanitarian gesture towards promoting peace and reconciliation among all stakeholders in the political sphere as this year’s presidential election approaches.”
In their first collective response to this development in the form of A statement shared with The Standard, the leaders of the movement which include Abdou Njie, Ebraima Kitim Jarju, Sheriffo Sonko, Hagi Suwaneh, Fanta Mballow, Karim Touray, Yankuba Darboe, and Matarr Ceesay commended all those who supported what they called their cause.
“We want to seize this opportunity to thank the 3YJ entire legal team for standing for us without requesting a single dalasi from us. The legal team’s unrelenting stand from the inception of our case up to the end was really exceptional. They attended every sitting despite all their busy schedules,” the group said.
The group also extended gratitude to all their family members who stood beside them throughout their legal battle.
“We will never forget our followers and all those who were arrested and maltreated especially Abdou Darbo who was inhumanly maltreated by the security forces which caused him serious health complications. We are once again reminding all Gambians to stand up and fight against politics of deception because it always leads to self-perpetuation and corruption which eventually leads to dictatorship,” the group alleged.
The statement added: “All what the 3 Years Jotna was fighting against Gambians have seen it clearly. Whether you supported us or not during the peaceful protest, the concerns we raised that President Barrow’s ambition to go beyond the 5 years will cause Gambians to suffer is now a reality; for example, the security sector reform, civil service reforms and more worrisome his desire to stay in power will lead to the failure of the draft constitution and encourage rampant corruption”.
“In addition, we thank you all for all your support and solidarity. We also encourage all of you to continue holding Gov’t accountable by raising your voices loud, if necessary, to protest under the law. We must not forget that president Barrow is a deceptive leader and he is on track putting this country towards her dark days”.
The statement stopped short of thanking the government but one of the group members, Hagi Suwaneh told Kerr Fatou Saturday that they are happy that Government has come to its good sense to drop the case.
”We should not have been put through this in the first place. We are not obliged to thank them for undoing a wrong thing,” he said.