“Adama Barrow is our Holy Moses”: How much Has Changed In 2 Years?
Alagi Yorro Jallow
When President Barrow assumed office in January 19, 2017, most Gambians looked up to him as the miracle man, the holy Moses, comparing to Queen Esther, the Messiah and the savior who would help to straighten the Gambia, and who with the force of his integrity and those of his coalition partners unquestionable integrity will sort out the Gambia’s moral and governmental crisis. It was mass hypnotism that brought him to power because as we have seen, the country was facing serious major social, political and economic crisis. Unfortunately, after the collapsed of high-stakes coalition partners sidelined and purging of executive members, dealt immense blows to the coalition members morale, leads to the paralysis of the coalition transition agenda.
I am seriously thinking about the mindset of a people with the divine grace of having one of their own as the president of the Gambia. It also raised posers about whether the nation has been this divided since the collapsed of the coalition 2016 and the civil war between the Barrow Youth Movement, the United Democratic Party and other coalition partners. It is so sad to think that the same Adam Barrow who had a pan-Gambian endorsement of the Coalition 2016 that ousted Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh is the same person his political family, the United Democratic Party, his political godfather, some of his coalition partners, and his Diaspora supporters are struggling to force the rest of the country to reject Adama Barrow and his government barely two years after his first election to relinquish power in pursuant of the Memorandum of Understanding entered into among coalition partners. But President Barrow insistence on obedience to the Constitution and calling for the Supremacy of the Constitution over moral judgement to serve five years.
President Barrow has also been behaving as if he does not know or he does not care about the utter cluelessness of his team. We suspect he knows, but his arrogance is perhaps his hubris. He doesn’t care because he does not think that good governance and fighting corruption are important enough. He projects a vision, an image, and optics of power in contradistinction to the objectives of democratic governance.
What could have happened? Could the problem be because the Adam Barrow presidency has been truly ineffectual in putting actions into the pledges the man made to the people when he sought their mandate two years ago? His supporters would readily answer this question by pointing at physical developments across the country. And can anyone see at the list and see that they are truly on ground. Adama Barrow too should be worried why almost everyone outside his political clan is decidedly against whatever he stands for. He should ask questions from people outside his circle of friends and acolytes. He should find out why people who put their everything into his ascendancy are now openly opposed to his second term or are at best evasive or reluctant about it. He should find out why the Gambian Diaspora that took him as the symbol against dictatorship and hegemony are now almost against him. He should ask questions about whatever it is that is polarizing even his political party he belongs. He needs to find out and ask how to manage to keep his political base intact for his second term ambition in 2021.
In entering the presidential race for the first time, President Adama Barrow could not have expected he would become a phenomenon in our national politics. He has. This fact has crept up slowly on the nation. It is not easy to explain away his transformation, partly because it is complicated and partly because it would amount to trying to unravel the mysteries of human mood swings and how the wind of the dynamics of national politics blows. If there are political psychoanalysts, they have a big task here.
Adama Barrow is a political surprise. Nothing in his character or his business hints at his becoming a man of the people, riding on the crest waves of populism where it matters most –among the poor, the dispossessed, the cheated and the despairing.
Adama is an ascetic and a rigid businessman. Populism is not his cup of tea. At least, until now that he finds himself the crowned head of a popular politician. He did not enter the race waving the banner of populism. He did so, waving his flag, accompanied by a formidable coalition as a serious-minded politician. He has offered nothing but his credentials as an incorruptible transitional and competent leader with the sole objective of fixing his badly broken country in the reform and healing process.
Normally, his sales pitch would be a no-no because we have been conditioned to expect and even demand largesse from politicians during electioneering campaigns, the only time they reach out to the people. It is no secret that there is lack of mutual trust between the people and the politicians. It is quid pro quo: Give us money, get our votes. And because Adama, being of a spare flesh, cannot shake body, his campaign promises would be treated as airy nothings – full of sound but not the welcome sound the Dalasi makes in the pocket.
Adama Barrow has stood that conventional wisdom on its head – I hope for good and the good of our country. The poor flock to him in a way we have not seen since perhaps as his predecessor Yahya Jammeh and the champion of, championed their cause. The poor know he has no money and did not come into the race with a war chest bulging with dollars, pounds and Dalasi. So, instead of asking him for money, Gambians chip in the little they have for his campaigns. As witness an old woman in the Diaspora who gave him her life’s saving of hundreds of dollars. As witness schoolboys and hundreds of the struggling poor who chipped in their proverbial widow’s mite.
A politician funded by the people; especially, the Gambian Diaspora community? What is even more interesting is that hundreds of the young men and women who work in the Adama and coalition 2016 Campaign at national and international levels, are volunteers and foot soldiers. They work for free because they believe, I suspect, not that the lack of money, but civism and patriotism should not debar anyone from his or her noble national pursuit. It does have the grating sound of aberration.
Adama and coalition partners does not rent crowds at their campaign rallies. The people flock there at their own expense. It must be a big surprise that the common people see in him the genuine and honest leader they crave for. I keep hearing something like these: “I trust him because he is honest. He had the chance to feather his own nest, but he did not. He is the only politician who is genuinely offended by the brazen theft of our commonwealth. I believe he is the only one who has what it takes to stop the rot and rescue our nation”. We are drowning.
However, you look at it, Adama led an authentic political movement of the common people for the common people. His transformation is telling evidence that victimhood could be the road to heroism. Luck, therefore, played a major part in his elections. Part of his luck was that the coalition 2016 moguls made the fundamental gain of making Adama Barrow a Messiah, the issue in its presidential campaigns. While the APRC foul mouths went after him this way in every sleazy way, questioned his qualification even literacy, but Adam and the coalition team concentrated on selling their governance agenda to the various economic and demographic groups in the country and in the Diaspora community. There was no sordid desperation against Adam Barrow and his coalition partners despite of the power of the incumbency in modern era-the Presidential power of Yahya Jammeh.
There is so much division in the land and Adama Barrow should be worried except he prays to be the last president of the Gambia before 2021. The battle cries are too loud not to be audible. So, what is the problem? Is Barrow the problem?