By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow has said he does not need to discuss with Coalition partners or anybody about the much talked about supposed three-year transition agreed among themselves or whether he should stay for five years as mandated by the constitution.
“We are in a transition period. We have things that we need to fix and I do not think we should hold elections just for the sake of holding elections. We are here to correct the system and in correcting the system we have to follow due process,” he told journalists at a press conference on Tuesday.
This is the first and strongest indication from the man himself that he may stick to the five-year mandate provided by the constitution rather than the supposed agreement said to have been sealed with the coalition partners.
Some members of the coalition have made public comments about their wish for the president to honour the agreement while others have said it is in conflict with the constitution which provides for the president to govern for five years.
Speaking further, the President said some of those things needing to be fixed are the ones they are exactly working on such as setting up the constitutional review commission, Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Commission of Inquiry, the security and sectoral reform commissions.
“We have to complete these processes first and ensure there is a level playing field before we organise elections so that we will have credible elections. I think this is what is important. The three-year or five years is not important. I want all Gambians to be part of the process, we have to join together to make sure we follow that process,” he added.
On the standoff between the staff and management of the Social Security Housing Finance Corporation, the Gambian leader said the government has set up an independent inquiry to look into the situation that will submit a recommendation for the relevant authorities to act accordingly.
Closure of Mile 2
On the recommendation of a UN visiting team for the closure of Mile 2, President Barrow said there is no individual or institution that has or will dictate to his government to close Mile 2 prison.
“We ourselves are very concerned about the conditions at the Mile 2 prisons and that is why when we took over we decongested the cells and made a proposal to build a new prison that will serve as a correction center. The plan is ready and the only thing holding it is funding,” he said.
He said in the area of security reform his administration seeking funds so that they can fast track the reform process because they intend to downscale the armed forces.