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City of Banjul
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The looming crisis of the Coalition, the UDP and Barrow

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By Mathew Jallow I do not fully understand all the internal dynamics at work at the UDP, but with their congress looming in early December, a lot is at stake. What is clear is that the interparty squabbles are beginning to surface, largely due to the public ignorance of the position of President Adama Barrow as the coalition leader. In the first place, nothing President Barrow has done indicates his willingness to honor the 3-year transitional coalition agreement. On the contrary, President Barrow is actively engaged in political shenanigans such as the Barrow Youth Movement, political projects and demonstrating intentions to sidestep or ignore the Coalition MoU, in interviews; thus contradicting his earlier pledges to honour the three-year transitional agreement. Gambians have to know that to be the coalition candidate, in 2016, President Barrow had to resign from the UDP first, in order to contest as independent coalition. In it’s upcoming congress, if the UDP re-admits President Barrow into the UDP and elects him as party leader, it then follows that he’s no longer independent, and must, therefore, simultaneously resign from the coalition and the presidency. As it stands, President Barrow is legally the president, because he’s Independent. But that wouldnt be the end of President Barrow’s political troubles. As early as 2016, before the coalition was formed, the Gambia Consultative Council (GCC) advised that for reasons of ethics and fairness in our political system, the candidate chosen as the coalition leader, cannot, after the three-year transition, be permitted to contest elections. The main reason is that the three-year incumbency will give them political advantage, and thus shouldn’t be allowed to contest the presidential elections. If the coalition leader, Adama Barrow, is allowed to contest, it will, right out of the gate, render our elections unfair. It would give advantage to Adama Barrow and the UDP all at the same time. Candidates for the coming presidential elections must all start from the same level of advantage. For those calling for Adama Barrow to form his own political party, he certainly can do it, but he mustn’t be allowed to contest these upcoming elections. He can qualify to contest after the 2021 elections, in 2026; and not before. It’s a matter of ethics that Adama Barrow does not participate in elections where his incumbency will, unfairly, give him political advantage, as favoured candidate. This will be unfair to other candidates and leave a stain on our electoral system. We, as a country, don’t want to be willingly associated with such blatantly unfair electoral process. Democracy demands it from us. Finally, I am not sure there is anything the coalition or what’s left of it can do to force President Barrow to the three-year MoU term. Besides, at this late period, the coalition deference to President Barrow means that it’s rather late to hold President Barrow to elections 2019. All these add up to the failure to administer the democratic process in our country. A confluence of events make it almost nearly impossible to hold elections in 2019, in order to honour the spirit of the transitional government; the coalition members’ characteristic indifference, Adama Barrow’s disingenuous activities designed to entrench himself in power and raising objections in support of the five-years constitutional mandate. I have argued the unconstitutionality of our 1997 Constitution as the product of military coup, and its, therefore, illegal. If this argument can be made, it’ll force ending the coalition government in 2019; not 2021.]]>

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