By Lamin Cham
Bou Jarju, a former prominent member of the United Democratic Party who crossed over to the APRC shortly before the December 2016 election, has told The Standard that President Barrow should respect his promise to quit after 3 years, because leadership is about trust.
However where he, Mr Barrow, felt the need to go for 5 years, he should before the end of the three years, consult all stakeholders and the nation in general for their understanding and consent,” Jarju added.
According to the Brikama-based politician who came second to Adama Barrow in the UDP standard-bearer election of 2016, the 3 years affair has caused the country to face a potentially destablising crisis with two forces poised to confront each other in December and unless the matter is handled with maturity, things can go bad.
“However I can see a simple solution to the problem. I think the senior politicians should continue to exercise their maturity and experience. They should engage one another and come up with a position on the matter and submit it to the president. I am sure if that happens Mr Barrow too will take the national interest and take the right course of action,” Jarju stated.
He said the senior politicians are national figures who are very much respected and enjoy huge following in the country and therefore they have the wherewithal to influence the masses to avoid violence by being measured in their pronouncements as well as hold regular consultations on the matter.
“I think Mr Barrow is now seeing himself at another level higher but the political leaders must not be angry about that, they must continue to work for the national interest and give him his due as president no matter how difficult times are,” he said.
Asked whether President Barrow’s declaration that he will not consult any of the parties about the 3 years issue is not making dialogue impossible, Mr Jarju agreed that that position of the President is not helping the situation but that should not deter the senior politicians from engaging on the matter.
Asked if he himself has not now joined Mr Barrow’s political agenda, Mr Jarju said he has a long standing relations with Mr Barrow since their UDP days and still respects him as President. “But I have not yet heard the president categorically say that he is running his political agenda,” Jarju said.
Asked if he himself does not at times feel bitter that he missed out on the UDP candidacy which eventually resulted in the presidency for Mr Barrow, Jarju said he did not miss out on anything because the UDP leadership election process was not fair as it was handed to Adama Barrow without any fair competition. “I had applied while Barrow did not go through that application process. He was just given the leadership in a silver platter. I think even Mr Barrow has alluded to this fact in his recent comments,” Mr Jarju said.
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