Pacta Sunt Servanda (agreements are to be honoured), the Latin term teaches us. There has been a debate as to whether you should serve for five years as mandated by the constitution, agreed and adopted by Gambians, or three years as encapsulated in the Coalition agreement and signed by all party leaders in the Coalition government. These two camps represent two divergent views regarding what you should do as the president.
Mr. President, it is no secret that the ultimate aim of the Coalition was to get rid of dictatorship and install a democratic government that will be premise on the values of restoring the dignity and prosperity of the Gambian people.
To hit the nail on the head, I am of the opinion that you should serve for three years. Mr. President, when agreeing to the Coalition terms, you were very much aware that the constitution mandates the president to serve for five years, yet you agreed and signed the pact on behalf of the United Democratic Party as the standard-bearer at the time. Again, it must be borne in mind that, the Coalition campaigned on the platform of reforming our laws and constitution to set the country on the right footing where the rights and liberties of all will be respected without discrimination. The agreement entails therefore, that, the job of the Coalition government will be to embark on constitutional reform within the given three year period, cabinet dissolved and for all the coalition stakeholders to go back to their respective political parties and contest for power. Your government in fact, is to prioritize this agenda than any major development projects in three years.
In addition Mr. President, it is known to all and sundry that, the office of the president may become vacant on certain grounds, including personal. Those who claim that honouring the coalition agreement will constitute a violation of the constitution got it all wrong. As the president, you may decide to resign at any time before the mandated five years and allow the constitutional order of succession to take place.
Resigning after three years Mr. President will pave the way for us to organize fresh polls and give powers to the president to call for snap elections with the approval of parliament whenever necessary as unfolding in Britain. Showing commitment to resign after three years will as well enable us in swift constitutional reforms within the given time and come up with better laws that will guide us as a country and avoid the restoration of a dictatorship. Again, respecting the pact will set a good precedent as the mandinka saying goes ‘FOROYAA MU KANGO LETI’. You must bear in mind that part of the reasons why Gambians voted for you was based on the platform you campaigned on, reforming our laws within a short period of time. As the mandate model in representation teaches us, candidates execute their policies and programmes base on the platform used and the mandate given by the electorates.
Mr. President, kindly hark back to 1994 when your predecessor (Jammeh) came to power. He made a promise to Gambians that they were never going to introduce dictatorship in this country and will not allow anybody to rule for more than ten years, adding that in fact ten years was too much for a third-world country like the Gambia. Despite this promise, he wanted to stay in power for a ‘billion’ years. During your campaign, you promised Gambians that you will stay for three years, reform our laws to suit our realities and set the country on the right footing. Mr President, respecting your word will earn you the highest level of respect not only within the country but even at the global stage among your contemporaries. It will as well be a move towards strengthening our democracy and restore hope for our generations to come. No one can take any legal action against you for deciding to serve for five years, but you must bear in mind that good leaders are always eager to leave a legacy worthy to emulate.
Yours in the service of the nation
A sovereign and a concern Gambian citizen