NRP’S MBOW SAYS BARROW SHOULD NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION

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By Omaar Bah

The National Assembly Member for Upper Saloum has said President Adama Barrow should move on after the expiry of his current term and allow Gambians to elect another person to lead them.

Responding to a question on popular Gambian affairs internet discussion programme For The People By The People Show on whether President Barrow should seek re-election in 2026, Alhagie Mbow said: “My honest opinion is that after his second term, he should move on and we also move on. That is my honest opinion and if I sit with him face-to-face, I am going to tell him the same thing.”

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The National Reconciliation Party’s parliamentarian, who appears to be the first person in the Barrow camp to make such a bold comment about the president, added: “For me, I am advocating for one-term limit of seven years for African presidents – one term of seven years you are out and we move on”.

Mr Mbow recalled a meeting he had with a former Ghanaian president who he had asked what he would do or change if he were to come back to power. “He looked at me for few minutes in the presence of Sedia Jatta and said ‘the four-year term for the Ghanaian presidency should change but if I had said this when I was president, people would say I just wanted to clinch onto power’. The second thing he told me was when I returned to The Gambia, I should look at the country’s public procurement,” Mbow said.

Asked whether government is committed to civil service and governance reforms, Mbow replied: “I know there is a civil service reform going on and it is expected to last for nine years or so. That will determine whether some people in the civil service are fit for purpose or not. They will also look at the structures but as far as the restructuring of government is concerned, I think that is the responsibility of the president.”

The Upper Saloum NAM said the restructuring of government will require a president who would do things to the extent that people will think they are mad.

“So, it would take somebody to step in and do that and at the end of the day, Gambians will realise the benefits,” he added.   

TRRC

Asked whether APRC leader and Speaker Fabakary Tombong Jatta will not be a problem to the implementation of the TRRC recommendations, Mbow said: “You see, I didn’t know Fabakary Jatta before as a person – in fact, I have never seen him or spoken to him until he became Speaker. But one thing I can tell you as a Speaker, he doesn’t have the power to stop any of our proceedings if what we are doing is in line with our Standing Orders or the Constitution.”

On the Speaker’s recent confrontation with mainly UDP NAMs, Mbow argued: “We have parliamentary rules and regulations. If you ask a supplementary question, it should be based on certain rules but if your question doesn’t conform to those rules, the Speaker has the power to stop you or reject the question even if the minister wants to answer.”

He urged his fellow parliamentarians to read the rules and regulations that guide the Assembly proceedings to avoid having unnecessary confrontation with the Speaker.

“So, I can tell you in very clear terms that the Speaker has no right to stop any parliamentarian if the proceedings are going according to our rules and as far as the TRRC recommendations are concerned, he cannot stop its implementation,” Mbow said. 

On government’s commitment to the implementation of the recommendations, Mbow said the NRP will ensure that all the commission’s recommendations which are in line with the Constitution are implemented.

“I have nothing to fear because when I die, I will be alone in my grave,” he concluded.