By lawyer Ibrahim Jallow esq.,
President Adama Barrow has put to rest several weeks of anxiety and speculations that almost threatened the smooth running of his three years old government, after sacking his embattled former Vice President – Ousainu Darboe.
The reshuffle, which occurred on Friday the 15 day of March 2019 came as the Supreme Court decides on the interlocutory applications, for and against Ya Kumba Jaited reinstatement as a nominated Member of the National Assembly. The sacking of the former Vice President has been welcomed by Gambians with mixed reactions from within country and abroad. Whereas many joined ranks with the President on this development, others longtime antagonists of the sacked VP are continuing to jubilate, all to the credit of the President timely and accurate decision. The Chiefs of all political parties in The Gambia, except within the UDP camp, have described the sacking of the former VP as a welcome development considering the widespread clamour for the infusion of progressive minds into the system. However, the supporters of the former VP believe that the shake-up is not profound enough.
The President still have more political consideration to make to fill the locuna created by the sacking of the former VP. The President has been criticized for inefficiency, without having plans to fill the vacancies created. But unconfirmed reports say that the President has already received candidates for appointments and is under scrutiny by the President. After making the shake-up, an anonymous well-wisher made a statement on social media, that the former VP did not have any inkling about his impending dismissal by the President, as the President “hosted a farewell breakfast for the sacked VP on Friday”.
Friday’s cabinet shake-up is the third since Adama Barrow becomes President in 2016, ending more than 20 years of uninterrupted dictatorship in Africa’s smallest nation. The reshuffles by the President are a fulfillment of the President’s promise to sanitize his government of distractors, and inject people, who have stressed commitment to transparency and good governance. The former VP has been widely criticized for trying to run a parallel government vis-à-vis the Government of Adama Barrow. The reluctance by other political parties that formed the coalition government to commensurate with the former VP on the occasion of his dismissal, is itself evidence of support for the decision made by the President to sacked the former VP- Ousainu Darboe.
The Ousainu Darboe will go down in history as an administrator who scored the lowest number of achievements as VP. He has got nothing to show as achievement during his tenure as VP. He had the opportunity to demonstrate his political acumen as VP, but he blew the opportunity off. For a country passionate about democracy, good governance and rule of law, the former VP suffered criticisms for putting himself at loggerhead with the President over the issue of the Presidency in 2021.
The reshuffle is normal part of the business of government. But it should be noted that the President has followed “democratic process and the rule of law” in sacking the former VP. If the action was not taken by the President at the time he did, it would have been a disgraced and setback for his government. We must look at the issue of the sacking of the former VP over and above personal interests and partisan politics. Gambians have unanimously endorsed Adama Barrow as President of The Gambia, and I see no reason why anyone should challenge that decision if he or she is truly not working for his personal interests. The government of Adama Barrow won the confidence of the Gambian people on the change mantra, meaning that impunity has no accommodation anywhere around the Government of Adama Barrow.
The Gambia is now a constitutional democracy, and all the tenets of the doctrine of separation of power as the foundation of democratic experience, is well respected and revered by the President as the Chief Executive Officer of the State. Therefore, the passion for rule of law, as display by concern citizens in the ongoing trial of Ya Kumba Jaiteh, is the only mechanism that guarantees freedom and liberties of citizens. The desire for order in the government is the raison d’etre for the sacking of the former VP as disclosed by the Government. NO individual person or group can achieve political objective in The Gambia using tribalism as a yardstick or political slogan. Those who use tribalism as a slogan to further their political agenda do not mean well for The Gambia. They are the problem. The solution is to look inwardly as Gambians and do right thing by supporting President Adama Barrow to develop our country.
I must say that the Government of Adama Barrow is a historic one. He came to power by choice of the people, in the sense that he was the most potent gladiator. As God will have it, because of his calmness and simplicity, he was chosen amongst all – from so many gladiators. Adama Barrow will continue to build legacies that his Government will be remembered for. The first is the deepening of democracy through electoral reforms. We encourage him to do so and after seven years from now when he finished his two tenures as President, this country will remember him for making our democracy more efficient, and for consolidating on the gains he has so far made.
President Adama Barrow put service ahead of ideology. He also knows that to succeed politically he needs to be tough. He has healed the Nation at the time of National division and strife. We have watched President Adama Barrow respond in quite reasoned manner after being attacked and lied about. What we see is a trusted leader with a great bedside manner. He is capable of holding our hands and lead us through tough times. The truth is that if any Government is expected to act with dispatch, that Government is the Government of President Adama Barrow. Do not count yet, the achievement of his Government are there for all to see, he is delivering on security, energy, fight against corruption and nepotism, youth employment, restructuring the economy, which includes the massive provision of infrastructure, easing of doing business and agriculture, just to mention a few. The President is delivering in broad areas that formed the planks of his Government policies. These are concrete and verifiable achievements, and they did not happen by accident, but by deliberate implementation of his government policies and agenda.