By Omar Bah
Momodou Lamin Sedat Jobe, former foreign minister and now senior member of the UDP, has urged President Adama Barrow not to contest the December presidential election.
“I want Mr Barrow to give Gambians the shock of their lifetime by announcing that he is not going to contest the election. That he will level the ground for a free and fair election. That will bring back his prestige and credibility and even give him the chance to build on his party and bounce back after five years,” a wishful Dr Jobe told The Standard.
Mr Barrow who united a divided opposition in a coalition in 2016 to oust Yahya Jammeh, promised to create jobs, repeal bad laws and conduct free and fair elections in which he will not participate. But to his critics, the former estate manager has little to show for his reforms and reneged on his promise to serve a three-year transitional presidency. He has since formed his own political party.
Dr Jobe, who was sent to Paris as The Gambia’s ambassador warned that “if Barrow allows himself to go on like this to the December election and fails to win” he would not find a shoulder to cry on. “Therefore,” he advised, “his friends and advisers should ask him to do everything possible to see to it that he doesn’t stand in the next election”.
“It will give him dignity and all the opposition and Gambians will respect him, that at the last moment he has kept his promise. I know it will be very difficult for the many people whose livelihoods depend on him staying but he should have a war with himself and think of his future and the consequences of losing the election,” Dr Jobe advised.
Dr Jobe is a distant relative of UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, the man representing the gravest existentialist threat to the Barrow presidency.
“If Mr Barrow loses in December he will find it difficult to regain his lost credibility. Sometimes when I think of him – and this is not with any condescension – I have a lot of pity for him but any thinking person knows that he is a prisoner of a clique. Barrow himself knows he cannot run the state as a head of state. A head of state who cannot face parliament and doesn’t analyse things himself … he is told to do this, do that,” Dr Jobe claimed.
“They are telling him he is the elected president and should not lose this opportunity because these people know that it is only Barrow who could give them the posts that they are occupying. What type of analysis can a man like Dou Sanno give to a head of state?”
Dr Jobe said the likes of finance minister Mambury Njie, chief of protocol Alhagie Ceesay and foreign minister Mamadou Tangara “are brilliant people with intelligence and they know what is right and what the international community are waiting for but they are not telling the president the truth”.
“If Tangara, for instance was able to summon his courage and tell the president that Europe has decided to stop giving us this money that has been donated because they have seen him buying vehicles everywhere and there is nothing methodical that the government doesn’t have a project which they could analyse and then fund, that could have made a difference” he said.
Dr Jobe claimed D1.6 billion of the monies donated at the Brussels donor conference have not been disbursed to Banjul because the international community is disappointed that the Barrow administration has not achieved any meaningful gains in its reform agenda.
Asked if Barrow is going to lose, who will win the December election, Dr Jobe responded: “With the dynamic of politics in this country, I think that the UDP will win the next election and I advise all these small parties not to waste their votes. They should come and join the UDP whether they call it a coalition or not, instead of wasting their party resources just to end up getting 100 votes. They will all be recognised.”