By Talibeh Hydara
Touma Njai, the National Assembly Member for Banjul South, has caused a stir online after asking both President Adama Barrow and opposition leader Ousainu Darboe to truncate any desires to run in the next presidential election.
The tweet, which the outspoken NAM made yesterday, was inspired by Senegalese president Macky Sall’s decision not to seek a third term in office after opposition protests led to the death of a reported 30 people.
Touma, who is one of only three female elected National Assembly Members in The Gambia, enjoined the two biggest political leaders in the country to emulate the Senegalese president.
“Both Barrow and Darboe [congratulated] Macky [Sall]. We now want both to follow suit. Darboe has lost so many elections; Barrow has done two terms already. Practice what you preach and do what you admire. It’s great to admire Macky but please emulate him. [It is] better for us,” Touma Njai stated.
Bashed for asking only Darboe and Barrow to step aside leaving another doyen in Halifa Sallah, Touma argued that Mr Sallah has already publicly announced his retirement from representative politics.
She claimed President Barrow and UDP leader Ousainu Darboe “are our problem”.
She retorted: “Why would I mention Halifa when he’s announced his retirement from politics? Darboe and Barrow are our problem and I say it.”
Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist and political commentator who is no stranger to controversy, was even more ambitious than Touma Njai.
“All pre-2017 political leaders should step down from their party leadership positions as soon as possible. Self-perpetuation in power starts with political parties, hence should end there first before becoming a president. Ousainu Darboe, Halifa Sallah, Sidia Jatta, Hamat Bah, Henry Gomez, Mai Fatty, Mamma Kandeh, etc,” Mr Jobarteh responded to Touma’s post.
Ousainu Darboe has contested five presidential elections; 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2021 and lost all.
Adama Barrow has won two consecutive presidential elections; 2016 and 2021.
He has however been under pressure to quit in order to honour a two-term presidency, which was considered a major legislation in the defeated 2020 Draft Constitution.
Both leaders have shown no sign of stepping aside, with Barrow’s camp already announcing his re-election bid less than a month after the closure of the last election cycle.