‘Forcing Barrow out in December will be premature’

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By Omar Bah

Mambanyick Njie, a former PRO of Gambia Democratic Congress, has said “it will be grossly premature to force President Adama Barrow to resign in December without completing his government’s reform agenda.

“Because if he resigns the constitution doesn’t say we should go for fresh elections. If he was to resign today the Vice President is mandated by the constitution to take over from him and see off the remainder of his mandate. Therefore, getting rid of somebody who was elected as President just because we want him to fulfill an agreement will make no sense,” Njie said in a Standard exclusive.

He went on to add that although the 3-year agreement was among the salient components that gave rise to Coalition 2016, “forcing Barrow to step down in December will make no sense.

“I hold the view that if the Coalition had contested the national assembly election as independent candidates all these changes could have been affected within 3 years. But because you have a national assembly that comprises political parties all of whom, except few, are trying to protect their party interest than the interest of the Coalition, makes it even more difficult,” he said.

He said the failure to fulfill their agreement by contesting the parliamentary election as independent to institute an independent government where no party or individual can claim ownership created even a bigger problem for President Barrow, who was left alone.

“So really if one blames Barrow for not fulfilling his promise, one should also blame the Coalition partners fulfilling their own part of the bargain. I personally believe in order for the 3 years to take effect there has to be amendment to section 65. So that even if the President resigns you don’t expect the Vice president to complete the remainder of the mandate. It should be amended in such a way that if the president resigns the Speaker will take over from him for a period of 90 days so that we can organise fresh elections,” he noted.

He continued: “I believe as citizens we should critically analyse what our political leaders are saying against their actions and then decide whether they deserve our trust or not. This applies to Adama Barrow, Ousainu Darboe, Mamma Kandeh and all the party leaders in this country. As a people we must not be carried away by events or political rhetoric where politician will be reneging on their promise”.

“I think it will do us a great deal when we try to change our national debate from trivial issues to issues that are more relevant to nation building. It is my profound opinion that as a nation we should be looking at how in one generation we can transform this country from a third world country to a first world country,” he observed.

He said there are issues the government must be encouraged to focus on and if the opposition believe the government is not doing what is in the country’s interest, they should provide alternative blueprint to the Gambian people.

“So that in the next election when the people go to the polls, they will be voting based on issues instead of tribal, region, friendship or partisan basis. The citizens and journalists have a big role to play to make sure our politicians focus on more relevant issues rather than trivial matters that will not take this country anywhere,” he added.

President Barrow, he added, will do himself a wealth of good “if he focuses on the issues that brought him into office and avoid responding to every Tom and Harry or throwing stones to every dog that barks at him at a time when the country is in dire need of service”.

“If I were one of his advisers, I would have advised him to refrain from mentioning anything that has to do with tribe,” he added.