Forming this party could be wrong in law, wrong in principle, and wrong in ethics.
This post title is predicated on the rule of law being practiced by the justice system in Gambia. For clearly, the trajectory that President Adama Barrow is taking, in morphing the transitional Coalition government into a full-fledged political party, is wrong and deceptive on many levels.
Nothing in the Memorandum of Understanding that the seven participating political parties agreed to, speaks to the particular issue of transforming the Coalition into a political party.
President Barrow is engaged in quackery that is as unsettling as it is anathema to the establishment of fair play in our democratic political system. Forming a political party, from the ruins of the Coalition, is evidence of fundamental disregard for the underlying rationale of the formation of the transitional Coalition.
This is a legal challenge to President Barrow and his NDP. Thus, also in principle, President Barrow is unilaterally and presumptuously changing the core values by which the Coalition was founded. In 2014, Gambia Consultative Council (GCC), a civil society group founded to bring about change in Gambia, established some standards for any future leader of a Coalition; that he or she should be barred from contesting in future elections, as doing so runs counter to the fairness element in democratic elections.
More clearly, a sitting Coalition government leader should be barred from exploiting their incumbency, in elections, at the expense of other party leaders who collectively have ownership of the Coalition government.
In democracy, the principles of ‘free and fair’ elections embody both a moral as well as ethical dimension, respectively. Any act that advantages one political party over another, in the particular instance of a Coalition, such as ours, is certainly unethical and potentially illegal as well.
President Adama Barrow’s planned formation of a political party steps outside the sole rationale for the formation of the Coalition, and, therefore, stands to challenge the law, openly disregard the core principles of forming the Coalition, and ignores the unethical dimensions in his solo adventure in entrenching himself in political power.
Mathew K. Jallow