Many people were of the view that President Adama Barrow is gullible and may not be able to maneuver around the many political pitfalls his opponents might prepare for him. This was given weight by his own admission – in public – that he does not have much experience in governance but would rather rely on the advice and expertise of his friends and coalition partners.
President Barrow created an aura of humility, meekness and inexperience which threw many people off balance. Many thought that because of his inexperience and the fact that he is meek, they can have an easy ride and achieve whatever they wished to achieve. So, they took to planning in certain ways to ensure that a base was created from which they would now spring.
Well, many were met with a rude awakening when they were redeployed to the foreign services, a euphemism for being shown the red card. With that reshuffle he moved the then vice president Lawyer Ousainu Darboe, whose popularity in the coalition arrangement was rising thus a threat.
He made him vice president, the second highest office in the land. That was a master stroke. The UDP militants were to see that as a boost in confidence and as an acknowledgement of the contribution and indispensability of the party.
Then there appeared to be a calm; albeit, an uneasy one. Again, when the innuendos began, many debated that he would one day sack Darboe. Some were of the view that that would never – could never – happen. After all, didn’t he call him his political godfather and he called him the Moses of our time?
But all that was in preparation for the big day that he would announce the divorce in the form of sacking him. You see, this time he didn’t say redeployed to the foreign services. He just wanted to be rid of the man he saw as the one who can upset the apple cart. And perhaps the man who made him president if you ask those on the other side of the isle.
From thence, things started moving rapidly. The acrimony multiplied manifold and it seemed we were heading to confrontation. The duel was in high gear but the two gladiators didn’t have a clear picture of when and where the battle will take place. One thought that it would be in 2021 and the other was anticipating it to be earlier, 2019. It seems that score is almost settled, 2021.
You see Ado knew very well that December will be a challenge as many will insist that he respect his promise of stepping down after the three years. So, he started planning. First, he appointed an experienced minister for the Interior and then a minister of Defence, a former soldier, no less. All this in preparation for December 2019.
Another master stroke he played was to delay his Meet the People Tour. He left it to the eleventh hour to embark on. It is said that he’ll depart Banjul on 18th November 2019. Most likely, he will be on the tour for the rest of the month and may be, some part of December. This will also give him an opportunity to lobby the people of the provinces to rally behind him.
This is where we are. President Barrow now has the opportunity to convince most Gambians that he should be allowed to complete the five year term mandated by the constitution.
So, I ask again: is President Barrow a gullible novice or a shrewd politician?