By Omar Bah
The leader of the National Reconciliation Party, Hamat Bah has accused the country’s opposition parties of having an obsession with the president instead of the real issues.
Addressing a political meeting in Brikama, West Coast Region, organised by the President’s Fan Club and attended by thousands of Gambians, Mr Bah said the opposition is failing in its responsibilities.
“I read an editorial in The Standard Newspaper and it said it all.
Today, the media is the opposition.
The opposition has failed in its responsibility.
All what they talk about is the presidency and President Barrow to the extent that they are not challenging the government.
They are only talking about wanting to be president,” he said. Minister Bah added: “You have to talk about issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of the people.
You have to take the government to task and make them buckle up and do the right thing.
That’s the role of a genuine opposition in any country but it is not happening in this country.
It is always about the presidency and Adama Barrow every time you read a newspaper”.
“How can an opposition member stand in public and say [the president must serve] three years when you know the law that protects you and gives you the right to criticize the president says it’s five years.
Is that ignorance or what?”
Hamat said the country needs a credible opposition that would advance democracy and help move the country by putting the government on its toes to deliver for the Gambian people.
“Not an opposition that is castigating people, the president and the presidency, which is one of the highest public institutions in the land and deserves respect at every level,” he added.
Barrow staying for five years
Hamat Bah said President Barrow will serve the constitutionally mandated five-year term in office and will defy any pressure from his opponents and activists calling for early elections.
“President Barrow is the president of the Gambia and would remain president until 2021. This is not in doubt.
You were given a certificate of return by the chairman of the IEC saying you have been elected for five years and no one can undo that in this country,” he told the President at the rally.
He made no mention of the fact that it was he himself along with the President and coalition members who made the three-year promise.
The NRP leader said the government is not panicking about the operation 3-years-Jotna Movement, which is calling on the president to respect the 2016 agreement.
“We are not worried about people wanting to go out and protest. We are in a democracy and they have a right to do that but they must follow the due process.
The law is here for everybody and no one will be mistreated or manhandled as long as they respect the laws of this land.
We will remain solid and firm on the ground.
We will maintain security and protect Gambians at every level in this country,” he added.
He warned that while the government will not restrict the right of the protesters, it will not sit by and watch the destruction of public and private properties.
“Gambians, let’s think again.
Democracy goes with responsibility.
Every citizen has a responsibility to his country and we cannot abandon these responsibilities because we are ignorant of them or because we do not want to follow the due process of the law,” he added.