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Monday, September 25, 2023

Barrow will not commit political suicide


By Bubacarr Sankanu All those who accepted President Adama Barrow’s appointment know that public office is temporary and Barrow has the constitutional powers to fire or redeploy people. The Gambia’s development partners at home and abroad are also aware of this legitimate executive prerogative of President Barrow. Appointees should not therefore have a sense of entitlement or the self-perception of indispensability. The interest of The Gambia supersedes the interests of given political parties or cult-like political groupings. Before people start pouncing on Barrow to honour the three-year agreement, let them ask whether other coalitions partners would have honoured the agreement if their nominee was the victorious flag-bearer? They cannot guarantee that due to the dictates of realpolitik. When Barrow started, some lousy folks were yapping on him to follow the “bad Jammeh Constitution” as it served their interests then. Now that Barrow is learning fast on the job and honouring the constitution that gives him a five-year mandate through legitimate election, they see their chances of ruling The Gambia dwindling hence they would want Barrow to now ignore the constitution and honour the three-year agreement. Presidential Adviser Henry Gomez has explained to us that the three-year agreement was a product of greed. Meaning the parties were not wishing each other the constitutional chance to be president for five years. The parties to Coalition 2016 have the option of meeting and voting to adjust their agreement to suit the five-year term for Barrow. Digging their heads in the sand and letting Barrow to be on the hot seat of aggressive criticism would not absolve them. We must not forget that until the next constitution is approved by Gambians in a referendum, the current 1997 Constitution gives President Barrow the powers to dissolve the National Assembly and replace Nominated Members of Parliament. Those who want to impeach Barrow would need a two-third majority to do that and if they want to battle Barrow for firing some of their political god figures, they would be engaging in mutually assured destruction (MAD) of their respective political careers. The recent rejection of the Supplementary Appropriation (SA) Bill 2018 by the National Assembly is not a defeat for President Barrow but a blow to the concerned recycled officials who did not do their homework well. The Constitution provides for a supplementary appropriation and the one presented by the Finance Minister was rejected on procedural grounds. The Minister of Finance should have presented the supplementary appropriation bill to the National Assembly at least forty days before the end of the budget year and the requested sum should not have exceeded one percent of the approved budget. Looking at realpolitik, I endorse President Barrow’s plan to consolidate his power till 2021 and if Gambians want it, he can seek re-elections afterwards. My concern is the introduction of two five-year term limits in the next Constitution. Once this is done, I am satisfied. President Adama Barrow is transformational president and not a transitional one. He will not resign in 2019 simple because some people feel they are entitled to rule The Gambia and not Borrow. Politics is not about sainthood. Barrow Manasi (Barrow) did not come to power to sit and idle. His national development and transformation projects will save him from political suicide, anytime soon. He is independent and has the right to join any other political party of his choice or form a new party. The advantages of incumbency in African political setting is a factor that cannot be ignored though some would like to discount it. Long live our Team Barrow. Bubacarr Sankanu is a native of URR. He is a filmmaker and social and political commentator. He works and lives in Germany.]]>

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