Jul 30, 2008, 10:13 AM
executive members of The Gambia for Five Years and Peace Building group
National Dialogue have disclosed that the group was not set up to counter the
rival group known as Operation 3 Years Jotna.
Speaking at a national dialogue titled The Peace Conference organised by the The AfriCare Initiative in collaboration with other peace advocates in The Gambia, held in Labaranda Coral Beach Hotel, Saturday, Ebrima Soriba, an executive member made a clear point that: “The Gambia for Five Years and Peace Building does not exist to counter Operation 3 Years Jotna. And we are not being pact by the government of the day, the least to say, President of the Republic.”
Soriba maintained throughout the dialogue which brought together members of the Five Years and Peace Building group, Operation 3 Years Jotna, NYC, members/representatives of some of the existing political parties in The Gambia, and as well as peace advocators that are nurtured to maintain peace, that peace is a corporate responsibility of every Gambia.
He expressed his delight over the event as arranged by the organisers especially that the two groups were able to meet in the same hall to discuss peace and way forward for the country.
He stated that the reason behind the establishment of the group is “because the peace and stability of this country got threatened.” He noted that the very coalition partners – seven political parties plus one independent candidate “that contested the 2016 election and won, amended and revoked the very convention that says three years and want the president to continue and complete the five years” as stated in the constitution.
The bone of contention causing insomnia in the country he said, the “Operation 3 Years Jotna group wants to hold the president of the country to account for the three years that he campaigned for as member of the coalition party.” He continued: “While the president too has said in a general political rally in Brikama that he would stay for five years; now we are having two opposing groups.”
Therefore, he said, “the peace is threatened and nobody is sure of the consequences as no one can say it will unravel peacefully.”
He opined that taking into consideration what might have been the consequences should the protest go astray; in the event that protesters stick to their demand while government tries to quell the situation, which could be perceived illegal.
“We decided to form the group to campaign for peace between the 3 Years Jotna group, government and the citizens,” he added.
Sheriff Soriba, another executive member of Operation 3 Years Jotna gave an in-depth reason for the establishment of the group and why the fight for three years was necessary.
He stated categorically that “the only thing that brought change in 2016 was the three years agreement, saying everybody should respect that. He argued that it is the three years that liberated Gambians from the dictatorship.”
He said the Operation 3 Years Jotna is not making a call to only the president to respect the three years agreement “but also telling the president that the power belongs to the people and we should all accept this because it is the people that elected the president into power.”
Sonko opined that “government has to respect people, while people too have to respect the government.”
He informed the platform that Operation 3 Years Jotna is a peaceful movement formed by Gambians around the world.”
Coming December, he said “Operation Three Years Jotna will come out to hold the leaders accountable for what they have told us.” He emphasised that their movement will not force the president to resign, saying “we are not forcing him but if we leave it to be a tradition, our leaders will always do it and go with it.”