Young people call on Gambia’s lawmakers to resign

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By Journalist Famara Fofana

Scores of young people representing different youth organisations in The Gambia on Tuesday made their way to the capital, Banjul, where they stormed the National Assembly demanding Members to resign.

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The youths donning the #Gambia Has Decided T-Shirts made a lively procession towards the Parliament’s two main gates, chanting in unison  slogans like  “National interest first”, “NAMS resign” among others.

The protest action came hard on the heels of an earlier petition dispatched to the Gambia’s National Assembly by the young people who had called on the legislators to revoke a resolution they had passed on January 17th 2017, supporting him to hang on to power after been defeated in December polls.

The National Assembly passed a motion empowering former President Jammeh to declare a State of Public Emergency through out the country. They also allowed him to extend his mandate for another ninety days despite the expiry of his five-year term following his defeat to now President Adama Barrow.

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Babucarr Kebbeh, a spokesperson for the protesters said their action was a peaceful one that fell within the confines of the law, having acquired a police permit to that effect.

Kebbeh, a vocal youth activist argued that the decision taken by the National Assembly in paving the way for a State of Emergency could have had serious ramifications.

“A lot of people could have been arrested, tortured or jail without good cause under such a situation” said Kebbeh.

He blamed the people’s representatives for causing lot of people to flee their homes, as they gave ex-President Jammeh to make that infamous declaration.

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When reminded about the explanation offered by the APRC dominated house recently that their resignation would mean no functional legislature to work with the Barrow government, Kebbeh responded “that would be an issue for the new dispensation to worry about. And so far, they haven’t made their position in that regard”.

At the time of the protest, it was unclear whether any National Assembly Member or official were in the building. Also, not many people appeared to have endorsed the peaceful protest by the youths with one Gambia in the diaspora branding it as an unnecessary distraction at a time when the new government is trying to find its feet.

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