First the accusation against Barrow’s critics was that they had an unjustified desire to make Darboe president when an incumbent was already in place. As the critics remained steadfast in their opposition to him, Barrow came up with a more virulent accusation, describing his opponents as people who feel they have more entitlement to the country than other Gambians. It’s an attempt to play the ethnic card, a leaf he borrowed out of his immediate predecessor’s book.
However, more would follow when it emerged that the threat to Barrow’s power is not exclusive to Darboe. Kandeh was accused by Barrow for being the divisive and jealous son of Jimara, the region that both men came from. In Barrow’s warped mind, incumbency gives him the birthright as well to twist everyone else’s arm so that they surrender their interest in the presidency. But there are more twists and turns in the tale. The new unknown quantity, Essa Faal, took Barrow by surprise, almost making him go berserk as Faal’s popularity increases, turning his claims into comedy.
Barrow and his arch-henchman, Hamat Bah, have directed their new crusade against education and those claiming to have earned it, particularly Lawyer Faal who openly used his qualifications as a selling point. The mediocre duo have an inner motive for attacking Faal and other candidates’ education, just as Shakespeare in Othello portrayed Iago’s thought about Cassio, that, ‘he hath a daily beauty in him that makes me ugly’. Barrow referred to their qualifications as ‘so-called’, whilst Bah described the degrees as useless. But how can their government claim any commitment to promoting higher education in the face of such blatant attempts to ridicule those with university level qualifications?
Barrow will keep on moving the goalpost as a way of finding reasons for making unfounded accusations against his political opponents until the final whistle blows, just like Jammeh ignored all voices of reason leading to the fall of his regime. Barrow has never remotely accepted that the opposition are a part of the democratic space and that their criticisms of him are grounded in his handling of the state. Barrow’s worldview of politics is about the pursuit of power through any means necessary. Interest of others or country is merely anecdotal. The signs are pointing firmly to his disgraceful exit, more like his predecessor.