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City of Banjul
Monday, January 25, 2021

Three or five years for Barrow?

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A movement calling itself Three Years Jotna has been agitating for President Adama Barrow to respect the three years he campaigned on.

They insist that the president must step down in December as it will have been three years since he took office.

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Citizens are divided on this issue as some are saying that the Constitution stipulates a five-year term for the presidency and thus it will be unconstitutional for him to step down before the five-year term expires.

The Three Years Jotna movement counters by saying that the president and the coalition leaders knew very well that the law stipulates five years; yet, they went ahead and signed and campaigned on the three years promise knowing that the Constitution does not bar the president from resigning after three years or any length of time served.

They postulate that the time has come for Gambians to start holding their leaders accountable and that whatever they promise to the people, citizens should make sure that they fulfil it and stick to their words.

That is the moral ground on which they base their argument.

In this way, the Three Years Jotna movement see their call as an accountability measure.

Last week, it was revealed that another group calling itself Gambia for 5 Years and Peace Building group has been officially registered as a Civil Society Organisation in the Gambia.

Presumably, the aim of this group is to counter the move of the Three Years Jotna.

These people are of the view that as President Barrow was elected to serve the Gambian people for five years, it will be wrong and too costly for people to force him to step down after just three years.

They intend to also ensure that President Barrow completes his five years.

The question citizens are asking is this: wouldn’t it have been more prudent and more productive to engage the Three Years Jotna movement in a dialogue to come to an understanding than form a separate group with a different – nay, opposite – agenda?

The government would have done well to engage in dialogue and discuss the issue with the would-be protesters with a view to finding common ground.

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