The Leader of Gambia’s Moral Party says it is impossible for elections to be held in 2019, as originally planned by the Coalition government led by President Adama Barrow. Mai Ahmed Fatty was speaking to journalists on Sunday upon his return from an overseas trip to meet with his supporters in Europe. This followed a call made by the leader of the United Democratic Party Ousainou Darboe, who called on President Barrow to respect the Coalition agreement, which approved a three-year transitional government.
As political tensions are mounting ahead of the expiration of the three-year transitional rule, opinions are divided over President Adama Barrow’s tenure in office. This past week, former Gambian Vice President and leader of the United Democratic Party Ousainou Darboe said Barrow should respect the three-year transitional rule, but the GMC Leader Mai Fatty thinks that convening elections in 2019 is impossible.
“For GMC, we had made it very clear; for us to have elections in 2019 is not realistic. Why is it not realistic; one, we have the same constitution that Jammeh left with us; this constitution is heavily squid in favor of the incumbent; simple majority now is the developing trend across the developed world; and in developing countries is to have fifty one percent plus; now the current does not cater for that.” Fatty told journalists.
Fatty had recently resigned from Barrow’s government. He was a special adviser to the President. He was also the head of the newly created unit at the President’s Office—the strategic unit on policy and good governance.
“It is essential we reform the laws. First and foremost, we should review the laws; have a new constitution and under the new constitution we can have elections. Secondly, we need to change the election laws; the electoral laws; the system of registration; the system of attestation; There are too many distortions in our election laws; and unless we sanitize our election laws; we will have something similar we had with Jammeh,” he added.
The Barrow government has established a Constitutional Review Commission. Its Chairman is Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow. Jallow said in a recent statement that the first draft of the proposed constitution would be published soon. Though, no date was given for the published date.
Fatty warns that in the absence of a new constitution, the opposition should forget about defeating Barrow in future elections.
“The current political laws only support President Barrow because they favoured only Yahya Jammeh at the time. If we want to institute democracy in our country, we must change those laws and those laws have not been changed. So, we want to be fair to our countrymen, it would be practically impossible. I want elections in 2019, but it is not realistic, and we have to be honest to ourselves.” Fatty remarked.
Frederic Tendeng is a Gambian political analyst. Tendeng notes that due to power struggle among the leaders of the coalition government, elections could not be held as planned.
“If they have worked hard during their coming from January 2017 until now, probably we might be able to schedule or to hold elections. Unfortunately, they didn’t do that; they were all consolidating either a position; consolidating an electorate; Mai Fatty remember was part of the tactical alliance with Ousainou Darboe and all those people, who thought they could be a core in what constituted the then coalition government ; so, these people were there entrenching their positions,” Tendeng remarked.
Tendeng says the transitional government has virtually failed. He blames President Barrow for the current failures.
“We have a President, who has no vision; who politically only think about how to get a second term, when actually he is not working practically to solve The Gambian problems; to address the issue of unemployment by youths; to take care of the sick health system. The health system in The Gambia is sicker than the patients, who go to the hospitals. People don’t have correct roads; internet service is a problem,” Tendeng said.
The GMC Leader Mai Fatty also raised the issue of cross border migration in his press conference. He says there are over twenty thousand Gambian refugees in Germany; many of whom had no jobs. He called on the Barrow government to prioritize youth employment and empowerment.