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Sunday, September 20, 2020

On the pro-five years protest

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Thousands of Gambians from all over the country on Sunday, 12th January 2020 held a protest march in support of President Adama Barrow completing his five-year term as mandated by the Constitution.

Brandishing banners and placards on which Gambia for Five Years is printed, the protesters marched from Sting Corner to two hundred metres away from Denton Bridge on the highway to Banjul. Delegates from all the different regions were seen marching in support of the five-year constitutional mandate of President Adama Barrow.

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Some of the protesters could be heard chanting that not only should the president complete the five year mandate but should also contest the next presidential election so that he will be given another mandate to rule for a second term. In fact, some were heard saying that the president should rule the country for fifteen years while others shouted up to twenty to twenty five years.

This protest march was triggered by an earlier protest when thousands poured in the streets on December 16th 2019 calling on the president to respect the terms of the coalition agreement, one of which stipulates that the president serve for only three years and step aside. That group, which has become known as Three Years Jotna Movement, has vowed to return to the streets on the 20th of January 2020 to compel the president to step aside.

In 2016, seven political parties and one independent candidate came together to form a coalition which enabled them to file in one candidate to contest against former president Yahya Jammeh.

The agreement was a compromise which saw them insert a clause which said that whoever the flagbearer is, s/he would serve for only three years and organise a free and fair election.

It also said that such a candidate will not be allowed to contest in the subsequent election.

However, a little after coming to office the coalition all but disintegrated paving the way for President Adama Barrow to shelf the three year agreement and vow to complete the five years as mandated by the Constitution. For months now the wrangling in the country has been on whether or not the president should step down.

As we get closer to the end of the three years of his regime, Gambians have become divided on the issue with many saying that he should honour his promise while others call for the five years to be completed.

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