Thousands of Gambians on Monday took to the streets of Banjul to protest against setting President Adama Barrow to step down in honor of his campaign promise that saw him elected in 2016 under a coalition team that lasted less than six months.
Mr. Barrow promised in 2016 to only serve a three years government, a promise he now made clear will not fulfill.
The protest under the banner “Three Years Jotna” which translates in the local Wolof dialect as “three years is enough” hopes to pressure president Adama Barrow to step down through popular uprising in the tiny west African nation.
Adama Barrow came into power in 2016 following a historical defeat of former strong man Yahya Jammeh but has since gained low approval rating among Gambians especially following the sacking of long-time opposition leader and former Vice President, Mr. Ousainor Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Couple with the withdrawal of Thomas Cook airline, the protest has already affected the economic status of the country which depends on 20% of its GDP on tourism. Most tourists have been advised on security grounds to stay away from The Gambia in December.
“ECOMIG’ soldiers earlier deployed by the regional bloc ECOWAS to force Jammeh out, are still present in the country responsible for the protection of the President. The Gambian army has a controversial history with former President Jammeh, with many speculating that a considerable sum of them still holds loyalty to him.
This is the biggest protest in the modern political history of The Gambia, with many fearing that it may descent into civil unrest amidst a counter-protest group, called “Barrow For Five Years” insisting that the President will complete his constitutional five-year mandate.
The movement, “Three Years Jotna” is accused of being backed by the main opposition party, United Democratic Party (UDP) which also occupied majority of the seats in parliament, a claim that both sides denied.
A delegation from the office of the President is expected to receive the message from the protesters later today.