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Adviser says Ecowas Parliament chair has noauthority to advise Barrow against third term

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By Omar Bah

President Barrow’s political adviser has said the chairman of the Ecowas Parliament’s committee on political affairs “has no moral authority” to advise the president not to consider running for a third term.

While speaking in the wake of Senegalese president Macky Sall’s decision not to run for a third term, Melvin Snowe Jr expressed his hope that the Gambian leader will follow Sall’s example and not seek a third term on the basis of “constitutional technicalities”.

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But reacting to this comments, Saihou Mballow said Mr Snowe’s comment was “unnecessary and incomprehensible” because Mr Barrow has no constitutional provision to protect.

“He has no moral authority to advise the Gambian president on what to do, especially on matters in which the president has not acted illegally. The president has constitutional backing if he considers running for a third term. It is meaningless for somebody from nowhere to try to put limitations on a president. People must learn to respect a country’s sovereignty and laws,” he said.

Mr Mballow added: “I can assure Mr Snowe and all those concerned that President Barrow will never violate the constitution no matter what happens, but whoever attempts to stop him from contesting in 2026 would be acting illegally.”

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He said President Macky Sall’s case and that of President Barrow are completely different.

“The case of Sall is a constitutional matter, while that of Mr Barrow is a matter of morality, and morality doesn’t say you cannot run for a third term. So it will be misleading to compare Sall’s situation to that of Barrow’s,” he observed.

Further justifying his claims, Mr Mballow said the president’s first term should be considered a transition, arguing that his current term should be counted as his first term.

“However, if he feels he wants to step down, that’s his choice,” he said.

Asked whether he would support Barrow if he decides not to run, Mballow said: “I will advise him to consult the Gambian people, and whatever advice they give him, I will support it.”

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