In the 27 March 2015 edition of the Standard newspaper Lawyer Ousainou Darboe of the UDP was quoted saying that he may not run for the presidency even if the age limit was lifted.
The defeat of Jammeh in the polls and his subsequent exile in Equatorial Guinea has given the UDP a renewed impetus to transform itself into the dominant party in the country. Many people obscuring party differences voted for Adama Barrow in order to remove Jammeh and his abusive regime from power. The international community applauded the collapse of Jammeh’s regime and showed readiness to help build a genuine democracy for Gambians.
Now that Yaya Jammeh is gone, is Mr. Darboe still maintaining his position not to stand for president? What are the consequences of having a presidential election as early as 2018 if President Barrow decides to step down gracefully to give way to the UDP leader who told the BBC that it is because of his party that’s why Barrow is elected president? According to all indicators, the UDP is poised to take over the presidency once Mr. Barrow decides to step down.
President Barrow’s government is doing everything to amend the Constitution in order to revise the upper age limit for holding office as president in the Republic of the Gambia which in turn will make it possible to appoint a Vice President. The urgency to have the bill pass in the next sitting of Parliament, has led many to believe that as soon as that is done, Barrow will find a way of stepping down to give way for a fresh election probably in 2018 so that Mr. Darboe could be voted in as President. If what the indicators are telling us is true that it is now a matter of if and not when, then it would be one of the biggest betrayal of trust to Gambians.
The idea is not farfetched especially when one considers the attitude of Barrow towards the presidency. There is no signs of eagerness on the part of Barrow to move to the State House, the official seat of power. Although the Vice President designate has already started carrying out her official functions there. The implementation of many important policy action have been delayed or put on hold. The way decisions are made is symptomatic of having two or three captains manning the same ship. There is total lack of unity of purpose.
Many of the reforms that were promised during the campaign period are still not delivered: the TRC is yet to be properly constituted, the electoral reforms bill have not been gazette, Jammeh’s assets and businesses are still in operation, the bill that was passed since 2016 for the establishment of an Anti-Corruption agency is still pending, the bad media laws are still with us and the necessary institutional reforms are being carried out in a specious way leaning more on political affiliation than based on a genuine desire to change the status quo.
Gambia is no longer a country where legal things are being made illegal while the people can no longer sit down and watch their fundamental rights trampled. We have suffered enough injustices for two decades and are now ready to take a stand against corruption, abusive and autocratic government. We demand our politicians to keep their promises and be open and transparent with their policies.
We elected Barrow because we saw in him everything that was different from Yaya Jammeh. Where Barrow is seen as a beacon hope; Yaya Jammeh demonstrated desperation, hopelessness, ambivalence and destitution. Where Barrow exudes embodiment of unity who can bridge the tribal divide in the country, Yaya Jammeh was dividing the country on ethnic and religious groups. We don’t want the Government of Adama Barrow to find itself in a state as bad as the one it replaced. That is why people are on pins and needles watching how the amendment to the upper age limit will benefit Gambians when there are other necessary amendments more relevant and important that can make our country great again.
The main challenge for our new president is not, as sometimes suggested, mainly managerial. It is conceptual; to set priorities. The overriding priority is to ensure that we are all united for a common purpose: to build one Gambia, one people.
Written By An Insider