By Mafugi Ceesay
The National Assembly majority leader has told The Standard that the current Barrow government is in many respects worse than the Jammeh government it replaced.
Speaking to The Standard earlier this week, Mr Kebba Barrow (no relation to the president) argued: “Barrow’s government is worse than the 22 years of Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh ruled for 22 years but the four years of Barrow is the worst in the life of many Gambians because lots of expectations are not fulfilled and consequently, the citizens are more frustrated.”
He said therefore, Gambians should register and turn out in full, bring the Barrow kakistocracy to a grinding halt on December 4th and usher in a government that will ensure justice, the rule of law, and progress in the country.
That government, Mr Barrow expressed his belief, will be formed by the UDP, the party of which he serves as chief whip at the parliament.
One of the major failures of the Barrow government he says is the breakdown in security as evident in the wave of violent crime sweeping the country.
According to the majority leader this can be linked to the inability to implement proper security sector reform four-and-half years after the ouster of Jammeh. “Without such a reform, security in the country will continue to be under threat. That’s why President Barrow and his team are shifting or engaging in the blame game happening. Until the security sector reform is done and the welfare of the citizenry is taken seriously, murder, rape, and armed robbery will continue and the blame game will also continue,” the Kombo South lawmaker contended.
“It’s the fault of the government and the ministry responsible for internal security. They are not doing what they are supposed to do and all that they are doing is shifting blame to one another, forgetting that they need to enforce the law as the issues happen,” he said.
Mr Barrow also expressed his concern on vigilantism and people taking the law into their own hands when dealing with apprehended suspects. “When the law is not taking its course, the country becomes a jungle state. Gambians are not satisfied with what is happening. If you report a matter to the police it takes months before action is taken and whereas an action is taken, mid-way they will drop it. People do not have the patience and they cannot sit down and be robbed by those who refuse to work and sweat, so the only thing they can resort to is mob justice, and that’s not also acceptable because due process of the law needs to be followed,” he noted.
Mr Barrow said the serving minister for the interior, Yankuba Sonko, has been mentioned adversely in the ongoing truth commission as a former police chief. “As such,” he accused, “he [Sonko] wouldn’t want things moving, and while he is at the helm of things, nothing will be moving. We have seen how adversely he was mentioned when he was the IGP and minister. A lot of things are happening and he is just giving deaf ears to them. “
Mr Barrow said the country is facing its current difficulties because President Barrow ignored the fact that he is a transitional leader and wants to rule for up to 15 years. “He became so obsessed with power that he doesn’t have regard for anything, just how to enrich and perpetuate himself in power. This is the reason he doesn’t want to talk to offend anybody,” he charged.
Mr Barrow said the president signed a memorandum of understanding with Senegal on hot pursuit in 2017 because “he fears the remnants of the Jammeh regime will be doing things and escape to Senegal, and with hot pursuit they could be returned and prosecuted”.
“The Senegalese are controlling his security and he cannot abandon the hot pursuit agreement now. But it has to be a two-way thing.
“The Senegalese are implementing it and are seen pursuing criminals in The Gambia and our Ministry of Interior which should clarify issues to the Gambians is mute on it,” he criticised.