A senior official of the People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism, PDOIS, has said that his party, which is a key member of the Coalition 2016, is not in any way suggesting that President Barrow be forced to respect the gentleman’s agreement signed by the Coalition for him to serve only three years.
Speaking to online news portal SMBC, Sawebou Touray, who is also the NAM for Wuli West, responded to a heated WhatsApp debate on PDOIS’ stance on the matter.
Hon. Touray said the PDOIS does not have any problem with the Barrow government and they are not an opposition to it and what was arranged was just what Halifa calls ‘a gentlemen’s agreement’.
Touray went on to say that there is no need for anyone to go to court and wondered what the person would tell the court.
According to him, one cannot tell the court to abrogate an agreement made outside the court, which is purely meant to bring about a ‘purposeful national unity’.
Touray further said he is baffled because nothing is in the agreement that violates the constitution as stated by some people.
He said there is nothing that stops the President when he really wants to resign. “So all he needs to do is to simply take a pen to resign and thank the coalition partners and assure that he would not support any candidate in the next election and the parties would also in turn thank him for his patriotism and selfless devotion to the national cause,” he said.
Touray said the constitution has already stipulated what should happen if a President resigns; that it is the Vice President who should take over and within three months or 90 days another election takes place.
He added if the president is sick or removed by the National Assembly, the same procedure takes place. He said if something like that happens to the Vice President, it is the Speaker of the National Assembly who takes over the Presidency. “So, everything has been taken care of by the Constitution and there is no provision forcing any elected president to govern for a full five-year term if the need arises,” says Touray.
He asserted that there is nothing in the agreement that stated that a coalition party or its leader must be a member of the Coalition Cabinet.
Hon. Touray said the PDOIS considered the Coalition as their baby and wants it to succeed. He added that his party would do all its best to make sure we go through the necessary reforms to usher into a durable democracy, so that the country would not have a repeat of the past.
He said: “The ball is actually in the President’s court to honour the agreement or not to honour it.” He however said if he does, they would stand up and give him a standing ovation and thank him graciously which he said would forever be in the history books of this country portraying him as an honourable leader.
But added, if he did not, he would not be judged much differently from Jammeh, who also made similar agreement with his fellow coupists not only to eventually renege, but ended up purging them out, because of his desire for self-perpetuating rule.