Dr Ousman Gajigo President Barrow is apparently unhappy that not every community in The Gambia is rolling out the welcome mat for the Barrow Youth Movement. According to Barrow, these individuals are simply youths who adopted him and are solely interested in the development of the country. If only it were so. President should take a moment to reflect on why his supposedly development-oriented “youth movement” is not being welcome by everyone. One does not have to look hard to notice the former APRC supporters in the leadership of this movement. Chief among them is the political bottom-feeder, Seedy Njie. The fact that such an unbearably opportunistic individual, an ardent and faithfully supporter of Jammeh to the very end, is able to wiggle his way into this organisation to a level where he travels with the First Lady tells us everything we need to know about the real nature of the Barrow Youth Movement. We should not be surprised as more opportunistic former Jammeh supporters end up concluding that the best way to worm their way into Barrow’s government is through the so-called youth movement. The fact that President Barrow has welcomed Seedy Njie in his inner circle also tells us quite a good deal about the President himself. Apparently, anyone who wants to support his agenda of extending his rule is welcome, no matter how despicable that character is. If President Barrow has no qualms about associating with these characters, it speaks volumes about his blind ambition and why we should not trust him. The fact that the Barrow Youth Movement has not been universally welcome everywhere and by everyone is because people may be beginning to recognise the organisation for what it truly is. It is nothing more than an advance guard of a future political party for President Barrow. It is basically his insurance policy in case the UDP does not fall fully behind him in the coming election. This reality is obvious to even those who are not fully following the political scene in the country. According to Barrow: “If you have youths who are patriotic and love their country to their heart and willing to endeavour for the development of the country, I think you should give them all the support they deserved.” How does does the president envision this support to be reflected? This is an organisation that has not achieved much of an accomplishment, and all of a sudden people are supposed to welcome them as some sort of saviours? Maybe they are receiving the level of support commensurate with their actual accomplishment, which is close to none. An aggrieved Barrow went on: “The Barrow Youth Movement is not the only organisation in this country. There are other groups and clubs in the length and breadth of the country. Almost all the political parties in this country have similar groups.” May be the reason people are not criticising the youth wings of political parties is because those groups are overt about their political goals rather than hiding behind some smoke screens. Those groups are not trying to pull the wool over people’s eye about some fiction that the real purpose of their activities is anything but advancing the political goals of their parent groups. There are other issues that should concern us about the Barrow Youth Movement. Outsiders are not sure about the provenance of the funds that is used to finance their limited set of activities to date. Like some of the gifts that the president has so far received but is not forthcoming about who his donors are, who is actually financing this youth movement? Is this information going to remain as mysterious as the sources of funds for the First Lady, Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation or President Barrow’s own mansions? If the president is concerned with the outsized criticisms that Barrow Youth Movement is facing, it is perhaps because people realised that the goals of the movements are contrary to what we expected from him and his associates. The Gambian people expected Barrow to honour his pledge to leave the presidency after this transitional term. It does not appear that the president intends to do that. All indications are that he would not honour the three-year term that the coalition agreed to in the last election. What’s more, he appears bent on not only going for five years, but beyond that. Instead of being honest and declaring that, the president is surreptitiously trying to prepare the grounds to continue his rule with the launch of the Barrow Youth Movement. The president’s own statement should put rest to the false narrative that this organisation is created purely for economic development. By all appearances, this Barrow Youth Movement has all the resemblance of the Green Youths of Jammeh (Green Boys and Girls). No one was fooled then, and we certainly should not allow ourselves to be fooled now. The Barrow Youth Movement is nothing but an organ of Barrow’s presidency with the sole purpose of pursuing his personal political ambitions. Gambians would be fool to think otherwise]]>
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