Gambia: Editorial: Political Actors And Players Have Hijacked Gambia’s Rookie President’s Presidency!


For one to say that the Gambia has been faced with leadership vacuum is an understatement. The country is being run by different forces with different agendas. There are many political actors and players on the ground. These actors have outshined the accidental president Adama Barrow.

At a personal level, Barrow is polite and humble. We get that! But he lacks the true traits of a good leader. Wisdom, knowledge, and virtue are among the traits of a good leader, and Barrow lacks them. Hence, that’s why he is unable to lead the country.

Foreign diplomats assigned in the country can equally notice Barrow’s inaction and ineptness. They are equally enjoying the different auditioning and power showcases within the administration.

It is too early for the international community to censor Barrow, but the truth be told he is not leading from the front. He has allowed his presidency to be hijacked by political actors.

The Barrow presidency reminds us about the short-lived rule of the former Guinean leader Captain Daddis Camara. Like Barrow, Daddis Camara too was not in charge of the country. He was subsequently ousted by his own henchmen and loyalists.

Daddis’s rule was dominated by tribal supremacy, and bigotry. Camara wanted to promote a tribal government, but it later backfired on him. His own loyalists betrayed him.

In the case of the Gambia, Barrow is not very sure about his political future. He lacks the powerbase to perpetuate power for now. He might try to part company with his Godfather Ousainou Darboe, and set up his own political party. But Darboe’s supporters believe that Barrow will ever remain loyal to their leader, who is currently firing the political shots from afar. Time will tell!

Mr. Barrow’s biggest political challenge is: He is not presidential material. He cannot think for himself. He relies on Ousainou Darboe, the Secretary General Dawda Fadera, Mai Fatty, and his former close buddy the VP overseer Fatoumata Tambajang Jallow, just to name a few to run the presidency.  

Ms. Tambajang is on the verge of being dumped by Barrow. But that could spell a doom for his presidency. It was Ms. Tambajang, who propped up Barrow into the presidency, through a controversial opposition convention. This was the lady, who was holding the fort for Barrow together with Halifa Sallah, while Darboe was in jail. She is privy to a lot of secrets about Barrow, and the way he ascended to power. Replacing her could plunge Barrow’s presidency into crisis.

Mr. Barrow has been asked by other political actors and players in the administration to replace Ms. Tambajang. He recently communicated his desire to replace Ms. Tambajang during a private meeting he had with her, but she refused to heed to Barrow’s decision. She pleaded with Barrow to reconsider his move.

Barrow’s case is sad one. He is not only ignorant about his responsibilities as a president, but he is also leading a chaotic transitional government. Common sense dictates that he should appoint a Vice president, but in view of the cited above facts, Barrow is not at liberty to do the right thing.

Eight months into his presidency, he is yet to appoint a VP. Ms. Tambajang doesn’t want to vacate that office. Barrow knows that. He can’t do a darn thing about it.

Having Barrow as Gambia’s post transition president, is not something bad, but the problem is Barrow is not educated, and independent minded enough to foster national development and unity. He has already condoned corruption in his government.

The recent abuse of the Saudi Hajj package is a classic example. Mr. Barrow is following the footsteps of the former dictator Jammeh. He wants to treat state property as his personal property. He was not ashamed of using the Saudi free tickets that was extended to poor Gambian Muslims to fly his family, friends, and loved ones to Mecca to perform Hajj. His cabinet colleagues exploited the gift.

Just recently, the State House claimed that Barrow facilitated the supply of 57 pickup trucks to our elected MPS. The source of the vehicles was never explained to the MPS, and their electorate. There was no word about the cost of the vehicles.

The charlatan Hamat Bah has heaped praises for Barrow at the handing over ceremony. He claimed that Barrow had insisted that all MPS should be allocated with a vehicle irrespective of party affiliation.

Jammeh’s style of self-mystification and propaganda is being amplified by the new government. Adama Barrow has never donated or bought vehicles for our MPS. It is dishonest for this regime to make such false proclamation.

Our democracy is being threatened since the Executive is now becoming a philanthropist agency for the Legislature. The legislature should refuse to be bought or bribed by any government in office. They are the custodian of the government. It is the responsibility of the legislative branch to police the Executive. But what we are seeing and witnessing today in the Gambia, is the Executive trying to police the Legislature. There should be checks and balances for democracy to prevail in the Gambia.

The Executive is so rich that it can bailout the MPS. The Speaker of the House sounded like a “beggar” at the presentation of the vehicles. She said her MPS often thronged the streets to beg for ride to go to work. She drove pass them each morning when going to work. She is rejoicing over a so called government bailout extended to our poor MPS; forgetting that the budget that the Executive uses is usually approved by the House. How comes some of the  members of the Executive, who couldn’t afford a standard bicycle eight months ago, can today brag of helping the legislative branch with vehicles?  Something stinks here Gambia.

Gambian journalists, please do your job. Something is not adding up here. The Executive is either ignorant or corrupt, or Gambians have by default elected a stupid rubber stamp National Assembly. It makes no sense for the president’s office to preside over such vehicles allocation to our MPS.  We rest our case! 

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