BARROW’S REFUSAL TO HONOR THE THREE YEARS DEAL, COULD BE A RECIPE FOR INSTABILITY—WARNS GAMBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST ABDOULIE JOBE

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A prominent Gambian human rights activist Abdoulie Jobe has warned that President Barrow’s refusal to honor the three years transitional rule, could be a recipe for instability. Jobe, who lives in the United Kingdom, has called on Barrow to leave office, in the interest of sustaining the transitional government. Jobe was speaking in an interview with this medium.

Voicing his total opposition to Barrow’s recent New Year Eve’s announcement in which The Gambian leader said he would continue to remain in office until 2021, Jobe maintains that Barrow should honor the three years transitional agreement.

“Fellow Gambians, I swore twice by the Holy Qur’an, in Dakar and in The Gambia, to defend and act according to the national Constitution. Under these circumstances, I cannot accord the Coalition Agreement preference over the Constitution,” President Barrow remarked in a national televised address.

In response, Jobe warns that Barrow’s refusal to honor the three years deal could be a recipe for instability.

“We are not going to accept this. If he doesn’t leave, the consequences are huge. It may be a case of people rising up. It may be a case of people taking civil disobedience,” Jobe remarked.

“I do not see any other reason why he wants to continue. There is no reason for him to continue. If anything, he must leave because at the end of the day, he promised to carry out an interim government program; he did not; all promises given; all the agreements put before the table; one the table; he did not do them at all. He did not carry them out,” Jobe added.

According to Jobe, Barrow had campaigned on running a three-year transitional rule. He opines that it would be dishonest on the part of Barrow to walk away from his campaign promises.

Jobe says Barrow is heading a failed government and he (Barrow) should consider relinquishing power. Jobe rubbishes Barrow’s claims that if he resigns from the Presidency, that would amounts to betrayal of public trust. He insists that Barrow should resign, and fresh elections be organized.

Barrow has called on his opponents to wait until elections in 2021. But the “jotna” group has vowed to organize another protest march this month to compel him to leave office.

A pro-democracy group, “Jotna,” has been pressuring Barrow to step down as promised. The group recently held a protest in Banjul to remind him of the three-year commitment.

“After I took up office, the gravity of the institutional failures, abuse of office, human rights and bad governance became more apparent.  Thus, the need to weigh fulfilling the Coalition Agreement and acting on the Constitution I swore to uphold. The confidence and mandate entrusted upon me have subsequently guided my decision to respect the voice and will of the people, by maintaining to serve the full Constitutional mandate of five years,” Barrow remarked.

Barrow came to power in December 2016 after defeating dictator Yahya Jammeh.
He argues that national development and interests should take precedence over partisan or sectional interests.

“While tendering my resignation is not unconstitutional, as some people argue, it is irresponsible and imprudent to do so if it is not prompted and justified by principles linked to statehood and the people. To resign after three years in office implies betraying the people, multitudes of whom continue to pledge support for my Government and our development agenda,” Barrow added.

The Gambian leader said he won’t concede to any attempt to force him from office. He has branded the three years jotna group as a minority group.

“I have judiciously counselled myself to bow to the will of the people, and I refuse to yield to the sentiments and ambitions of a minority group. For this reason, my decision is to complete the five-year mandate stipulated in the Constitution for a sitting president. I am not ill disposed in any way to warrant my resignation as president,” he said.

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