THE GAMBIA FROM MY VANTAGE POINT – Part 2
I have always maintained that The New Gambia needs strong institutions and not Africa’s so-called ‘strong men’ who are notorious for assuming absolute power. We would advance as a people and as a nation if freedom, rule of law, democracy, and accountability are allowed to flourish and grow their tentacles in our new dispensation. Also, the government of the day and its security apparatus should be reminded that the will of the people must always prevail for any rejection of it would be a form of usurpation which amounts to tyranny at the highest level. We do not want to trek along that path again because we have been there, and our scars are a clear manifestation of that perilous ravine.
I will not do justice to this piece if I fail to remind the readers of two major components of the 2016 Coalition Agreement (aka MOU). The opposition parties plus one independent candidate came together to create a dictator annihilation force called Coalition 2016 since no single political party had the ballot power to unseat Babili Mansa. Pertinent among their agreement is that whoever was elected to be the coalition flag-bearer was going to serve as president for three years should he win against Babili.
Also, this coalition or transition president would not contest in the subsequent presidential election for contesting would give him an edge over the other candidates hence the power of the incumbent. That agreement was meant to put an end to the twenty-two-year dictatorship, and to ensure that the coalition flag-bearer does not use the coalition as a means to an end. Therefore, the flag-bearer if elected would be a transition president and not dream about self-perpetuating rule; a menace that we should be allergic to in our new dispensation.
Fast forward to the current reality, it is without any modicum of doubt that President Barrow is planning on having his name on the ballot paper come 2021. The argument put forward by many including some of our intellectuals is that he is a Gambian and therefore has every right to contest in 2021. Others including the president, in their minds believe or argue that his accomplishments in the transition period would be the determinant of his re-election, meaning a successful transition should/would/could earn him re-election in 2021. Those are not cogent arguments as far as I am concerned, but the lamest of excuses for disregarding the MOU. Did we forget what brought Barrow to power? Even ruminants in
The New Gambia are struggling to regurgitate those arguments because forgetfulness, selfishness, untrustworthiness, dishonesty, questionable integrity, me first and country second have conjointly ruptured their rumens. Jeh, fo suwokuta le saayin mmang nyo sutay? Are we referring to a different Barrow?
I assume it is the same Barrow that converged with the other then opposition party leaders and agreed to everything in the MOU; an understanding that required him to resign from the UDP to contest as the coalition flag-bearer, which he did and won. Now that President Barrow is occupying State House the MOU must be treated as a piece of trash because it was just “a gentleman’s agreement” and should not be honored? I would certainly need the services of a mind reader to tell me at what point Barrow decided he was going to disregard the coalition MOU in its entirety. This idea germinated in his head or got transplanted there before or after occupying the state house? Would we have had a coalition had the partners not agreed to the terms of the MOU?
Finally, could we remind Mr. President and his sycophants that he has a contract with the coalition partners and the Gambian people for that matter? He was offered the MOU and his acceptance of it constitutes a contract that is not legally binding but morally binding, undoubtedly. Breaching this contract speaks volume of your integrity and finds you culpable of moral misconduct.
My fellow countrymen, fifty-four years after independence our women continue to die during childbirth, our healthcare system is deplorable, inadequate blood banks in our hospitals, educational standards are falling and university education is beyond the means of many deserving young men and women, a lot of our institutions continue to fail us, the average Gambian family is struggling to provide three decent meals a day, employment opportunities are scarce, food self-sufficiency continues to be a dream, corruption and nepotism are still rife in the civil service.
Instead of taking our governments and politicians to task, we continue to be sycophants, blind loyalists, and we gather in our thousands at the state house to ‘show solidarity’ with the president as if doing so would elevate our status and improve conditions. If we do not wake up and demand more from our leaders and politicians and take them to task or hold them accountable, they would continue to cage us in their cruise liners, and we will be jettisoned at the high seas so the ships could remain buoyant for smooth sailing. By taking our leaders to task, I am in not any way insinuating that we resort to thuggery or lawlessness because that should not be condoned in a democratic society or a country of laws. To be continued………
Written By Dibba Chaku
Editors note: The views expressed by the author do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. Thanks for your attention.