State of coups: Rethinking power grabs and Baa Tambadou’s threat to Barrow regime


With Sainey Darboe

Since his appointment as Attorney General by the clueless, “accidental president” Adama Barrow as Minister of Justice and Attorney General,Baa Tambadou has lurched from one embarrassing mistake to another without losing enthusiasm.
The colossal damage with the accompanying consequences will likely cost Barrow his much-coveted residence at Marina Parade come 2021,if he miraculously survives office till then.

The opening salvo in his parade of screw-ups was the appointment of Fatoumata Tambajang as vice president, as well as raising the age-limit of judges despite constitutional limitations.


Baa Tambadou in his zeal to accumulate power and influence doesn’t have the humility to consult with more seasoned and erudite lawyers to shepherd legal processes to their logical conclusions without significant mis-steps,causing the president embarrassment with immense haemorrhage of political capital.

Lawrence DFreedman in his article on Foreign Affairs magazine titled “Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam”, chronicled the exploits of the American strategist and the importance of smart advisers.

McGeorge Bundy, who served as national security adviser to both John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and worked assiduously to correct the grave errors of the Vietnam War put it best when he observed: “It’s alarming to have a president who doesn’t know what he is doing.”

The man for whom the term “best and brightest” was coined made his observations half-a-century before Barrow assumed the reigns of power in one of the most improbable ascents to power in recent history,but his warning remains chillingly relevant.
For a country that endured two decades of oppression under Yahya Jammeh, Barrow made his rocket ride to State House on the back of promises of reform.

After three years in power, Barrow has not achieved any significant development and policy accomplishment.His biggest achievement seems to be recycling former Jammeh accomplices in his vaulting ambition of self-perpetuation in that most transient of all places-Marina Parade.
The Janneh Commission which was set up to account for the economic mismanagement of the Jammeh regime concluded at the cost of over D50 million to the taxpayer.But to what end?

A recent court judgment rendered the recommendations of the commission largely lack legal enforceability leading to a halt of the sale of assets of the former president Yahya Jammeh.

Baa Tambadou poorly managed the institution of an inquiry that was supposed to be one of Barrow’s crowning achievements and could have been immense aid in his re-election bid.
But Baa Tambadou in his infinite legal wisdom has deprived Barrow of such a massive political capital. One wonders if his constant screw-ups are meant to sabotage Barrow.This is nothing less than coup by ministerial sabotage.If The Gambia were a country with better accountability standards,Baa Tambadou should have resigned or be handed his marching orders in eternal opprobrium for his manifest aversion to intellectual labour and stinging dearth of competence.
Barrow and his advisers should know better.And when they know better they should do better.