“We are not afraid of anyone. We are here to stay in power. We will be in government until 2021; whether one likes it or not; I will continue to rule this country until 2021,” Gambian President Adama Barrow, remarked in the local Mandinka dialect on Saturday, while addressing thousands of supporters in the town of Brikama. The President’s comments followed intense pressure from the movement called “Operation three years jotna” who had called for his resignation from the Presidency come November 2019. The three years jotna advocates have vowed to organize what they called spontaneous protest marches across The Gambia, if Barrow fails to respect the three year transition agreement he had reached with his coalition partners.
The Brikama meeting was organized by a group calling itself the Barrow fans club. Its leader is one Lamin Jatta, the Regional Chairman of President Barrow’s newly created political base in the West Coast Region.
In his speech, President said, nothing is going to force him to relinquish power in the short term. He told his followers that he was voted to stay in power for five years and nothing can change that.
“ The political space would be open come 2021. If anyone wants to run for the Presidency, he or she better wait until 2021. Nothing can change that. We will continue to be in power until such a time,” Barrow remarked.
“There is only one door to the Presidency. One can only become a President in this country by going through that door; there is no window or back door to that door. I went through that door before becoming a President; Gambians voted me into office through that door,” Barrow added.
Mr. Barrow also took a swipe at Gambia’s intellectual community. He says when the going was tough for The Gambia, during dictator Jammeh’s two decades long rule, the country’s intellectuals were nowhere to be seen. He recalled when the United Democratic Party (UDP) invited prospective Presidential candidates to apply for the position of flag bearer, but the “loudmouth” intellectual wing today picking on his government refused to avail themselves for the post of President. He said only two people had applied for the position: One Mr. Darboe, a staffer of the Medical Research Council and Boo Jarju. He (Barrow) later applied; and was selected by the UDP to represent the party at the opposition primaries. He later became Gambia’s President after defeating Jammeh in a hotly contested polls.
“The intellectuals are today talking freely because Adama Barrow is the country’s President. They were afraid to avail themselves as Presidential candidates during dictator Jammeh’s rule. Now that I am the President, they all want to be President. If the post of President was to be advertised today, Gambians would be surprised about the number of intellectuals, who would apply for the position,” Barrow jokingly remarked.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai