Youth groups are demanding the resignation of lawmakers two months before their mandate expires following the what they considered to be their complicity with former President Yahya Jammeh on the declaration of a state of emergency in the country.
Jammeh lost elections to President Adama Barrow but refused to step down claiming the process was tainted with “unacceptable irregularities” sparking a two-month long political turmoil.
He filed a petition at the country’s Supreme Court where the absence of judges has made it impossible for his case to go, a fate that also applied to his injunction filed to stop the inauguration of Barrow.
The National Assembly then approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency in the country which extended the life of Jammeh’s presidency until May.
The young people justified their demands for the resignation of lawmakers on the ‘failure’ of their responsibilities “to protect our rights and represent out interest”.
“This action of the National Assembly has led Gambia and Gambians into serious and unprecedented fear and anxiety causing serious economic breakdown…,” they said in a letter addressed to the National Assembly.
“Sequel to these circumstances, the young people of The Gambia are demanding the National Assembly to publicly apologise to Gambian people for their role in aggravating the political impasse, reverse the state of emergency resolution and the extension of the term of the National Assembly and further repeal all unfavorable laws enacted, restrictions on rights of citizens.”
The lawmakers, except for one, failed to apologize. They defended their action and said it was in the “best interest of Gambians” and could not resign because the new administration would not have a legislature to work with.
The Gambia is holding a National Assembly election in March this year with the APRC-backed parliamentarians facing their most difficult challenge to retain their seats.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Additional Writing and Editing by Sam Phatey)