Thousands of Gambians paraded near Banjul on Sunday for President Adama Barrow to stay in power for five years, despite his initial commitment to serve only three years, an AFP correspondent said.
The protest comes less than a month after thousands of other Gambians took to the streets to demand that the president keep his 2016 pledge and leave power without delay.
This rally opens a sequence of demonstrations in the coming days in a country which emerged three years ago from the Jammeh dictatorship. Supporters of Yahya Jammeh, who led a fierce repression for 22 years, plan to demonstrate on the 16th for his return from exile. Supporters of Barrow’s departure plan to do the same a few days later.
« We will not allow anyone to overthrow the government and the Constitution »
Like Mr. Barrow’s other supporters, Amadou Jallow invoked the five-year term of office enshrined in the Constitution. « Trying to force President Barrow to leave would be a coup because the Gambians elected him for five years, » he told AFP correspondent.
« We will not allow anyone to overthrow the government and the Constitution, » added another supporter, Issatou Sanyang.
In a motion delivered to government spokesperson, organizers of the Sunday rally are concerned about a slowdown in economic activity due to the “growing fear everywhere” that the protest against Mr. Barrow “will lead to war civil « . They demand “firm measures” from the government against “tactics of fear”.
Invested by an opposition coalition, Mr. Barrow won the presidential election of December 1, 2016. Mr. Jammeh had tried to contest the result but had been forced into exile after a regional politico-military intervention. The founding charter of the « Coalition 2016 » stipulated that the new president would lead a provisional government for three years before organizing a new election in which he could not stand.
In late September, as pressure intensified for Barrow to honor this commitment, part of the coalition agreed to let him go after five years.
Former autocrat Jammeh made his voice heard in his country on Saturday by recording a conversation in which he demands respect for what he considers to be his rights, including the right to return.