By Omar Bah
A prominent Gambian pro-democracy activist, Jeggan Grey-Johnson, has said President Adama Barrow has all the right to contest for re-election in 2026 and even beyond.
Talking to The Standard after the paper contacted him for his views on the trending debate of the president seeking a third term, Grey-Johnson said: “Barrow, just like any Gambian who satisfies the criteria for candidacy for the presidency, has the right to run. Barrow can run as many times as he likes because term limits do not feature in our constitution. So, it’s a non-issue.
“Our democracy as constructed by the current constitution, is not impacted by Barrow’s decision to stand again. And he can continue doing so for as long as he likes. If we want to strengthen the democracy we now are saddled by, which is a Jammeh legacy, we must change the law and usher in a two-term limit,” he said.
But commenting on the matter, Mr Grey Johnson’s fellow activist, Pa Samba Jow posited a counter view: “President Barrow’s decision to seek a third term, as he announced Sunday, is quite disappointing, but not the least surprising. Lest we forget, this is the same man who promised us three years, yet is now serving a second five-year term. President Barrow, by his declaration, has proven that he can’t be trusted.
“Of late, he has hinted that he would not seek a third term, in fact, he has told many close associates that he wouldn’t. I guess we will chalk this one up as another false promise by the president,” he said.
Jow argued that seeking a third term will only benefit Barrow and his close associates.
“This will definitely retard our attempt to consolidate our democracy by ending self-perpetuating rule. I hope the opposition will unite to deny him another term. No Gambian president must be allowed ever again to serve more than two terms,” he said.
Commenting on the list of buyers of properties seized from former president Yahya Jammeh which was disclosed by The Standard last week, Jow said the government should publish the exhaustive list and the proceeds from the sales.
Jow stated: “First, we must be clear that Jammeh corruptly acquired those properties. Second, since the properties were seized in the name of The Gambia government, they became the property of the whole nation, thereby eliminating the question of anonymity. Therefore, the full list of the buyers of the properties must be published for all to see in the interest of accountability and transparency. Any attempt to keep this full list secret will point to an attempt to cover-up.
“The government must come clean, otherwise it will be accused of corruption. The Janneh Commission was established to expose and deter corruption, therefore everything about it and its aftermath must be transparent, and must not have any semblance of corruption. All those who bought the properties, including cattle, must be published. The buyers should have nothing to fear unless they have something to hide. Sometimes, our country is made to look like a banana republic,” he chastised.