Gambia: If President Barrow Refuses To Step Down At The End of Five Years, He Will Be An Existential Threat To Our New Democracy And Peaceful Co-existence

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The recent political development should be a concern for every citizen who truly cherish The Gambia’s peace and political stability. Since independence, The Gambia never had any smooth democratic transition because there was never a democratic transfer of political power. The last presidential election has given the Gambian people an opportunity to express their true desire to have a peaceful political transfer of power but this was not achieved due to annulment of election results by the former President Yaya Jammeh. Subsequently, military intervention forces under the leadership and guidance of Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS) was send to The Gambia in order to forcefully remove Dictator Yaya Jammeh and install Adama Barrow as a new president of The Gambia. President Barrow enjoyed a significant support across the political spectrum because of genuine desire from Gambians to have a change of government at the time.

Since the installation of President Barrow , the change that Gambians voted for has never been realized despite two years of significant political support across political spectrum and international goodwill for his government. Instead , we have seen President Barrow dinned with former regime officials. President Barrow appointed former officials of Jammeh’s regime to key cabinet positions like finance and foreign ministries. These ministries are the heart and soul as well as the eyes of any government. The appointments of former officials into these key ministries is a clear indication that President Barrow is not a leader who will truly transform our political, economic and social conditions. To make matter worse , President Barrow even abandoned the very coalition partners and members of his own former political party ( UDP) and he is currently working hard to recruit former officials of Jammeh’s regime to join Barrow Youth Movement which is widely recognized as an organ of soon to be announced new political party Mr Barrow and former Jammeh’s officials are on the verge of forming to contest 2021 Presidential election.

The fundamental question every citizen should be asking is that : Is President Barrow trustworthy to lead The Gambia after five years of his current term and the implications of another five year term for Barrow?

I believe that this question has two fundamental dimensions if we truly want to answer this question rightly ; that is personal dimension and our national democratic dimension or perspective .

On the personal level , it will be at highest advantage for President Barrow not to contest 2021 Presidential election. This is because President Barrow is widely considered as a hero who led the effort and chased the tyrant from the country and brought democratic change as a result of collective support from majority of citizens. The recent democratic change has placed The Gambia among the civilized nations who cherish democratic ideals. This has also personally placed President Barrow among democratic leaders with great respect and name recognition. If President Barrow step down at the end of five years, he will be in the same class of great leaders like Nelson Mandela who struggled for political liberation and finally emancipated South Africans from racial segregation and political oppression after many decades or centuries of political oppression and racism. President Barrow will forever have good name in the history of The Gambia and West Africa in general. He will be seen as a role model for democratic ideals and values. President Barrow will also enjoy support among The Gambia’s political leaders, international goodwill and support from world leaders as well as many opportunities at personal level that he will get from international organizations . He will have opportunities to work on problems that requires international leadership such as being consider for United Nations or African Union top leadership job, which will give President Barrow an opportunity to gain more leadership experience and skills as well as provide great political capital for any future presidential ambition to rule The Gambia. He will learn to be a better leader with clear vision to transform the country. President Barrow will be highly recognized by international organizations such as United Nation system, African Union , ECOWAS , the United States and many international organizations and countries if he resigns. This opportunities will enable President Barrow to redeem himself from recent corruption sandals involving First Lady foundation and Barrow youth movement and other corruption practices he may face when he is remove from Presidency unwilling. This is also be the best case scenario and highest opportunity for President Barrow to peacefully retire in The Gambia and enjoy his retirement as a private citizen. If Barrow fails to step down by the end of 2021 and win next presidential election, he will continue to face corruption charges and he will certainly end up like former President Jammeh. There is every indication that President Barrow will be a corrupt leader if he remains in power in next ten years. This is evidenced by his administration efforts to follow foot steps of Jammeh’s regime and corruption allegations level against him and First Lady. Therefore, it will be wise and beneficial at the personal level for President Barrow to resign at the end of five years.

For The Gambia’s Democratic development perspective, it is highly in the interest of the country to develop and nurture democratic ideals. This can be achieved if President Barrow’s resigns at the end of five years . The resignation will also significantly highlight new era of our political dispensation because It will the first ever transfer of political power in a civilized and peaceful manner which our country badly needs since independence. There will be a sense of hope  and  greater opportunities for citizens to recognize that leadership is all about public service but not sense of entitlement. Our citizens will be able to genuinely understand that Presidency is just a privilege but our national interest supersede individual citizen political interest. Resignation of President Barrow at the end of five years will also lay the foundation of less political corruption and would encourage political maturity at national level. Political leaders will be restrained due to his resignation and it will pave the way for more democratic peaceful transfer of political power from one president to another like it happens in Senegal and Botswana.

The resignation of President Barrow after five year term would also avoid militarization and security forces involvement in our politics. This is an essential step toward building and sustainment of our new found democratic dispensation. It is very clear to every citizen that our military and security forces played the most powerful and significant roles in sustainability of Jammeh’s regime in the last 22 years. Therefore, President Barrow’s resignation at the end of five years will stop virtually any military coup , security forces involvement in politics or to serve in dispute political transition in the future.

Finally President Barrow’s resignation will be the best thing for our citizens because there would be less political fight , dirty tribal politics and will place the country on the path to genuine democratic ideals and institutional building. If President Barrow refuses to step down,  he will be an existential threat to our new found democracy and peaceful co-existence as a nation. The political infighting will threaten the fragile peace we are currently enjoying. Mr President, please resign at the end of five years for the sake of beloved country and for your personal interest .

Thank you.

Written By Max Jarju

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