The outright rejection of the New draft constitution has place our country into constitutional crisis which significantly continues to threaten our new democracy. The current 1997 constitution was very document which Former President Jammeh had used to entrench himself in power for 22 years. President Adama Barrow who has already mastered the dirty political playbook of former President Jammeh is on the same dishonest path to use the 1997 constitution to entrench himself in power. The 1997 constitution was used by the opposition coalition leaders as a campaign tool during 2016 presidential election to showcase the need for its replacement in order to put The Gambia on genuine path of democracy and rule of law. It was that election promise and many others that encouraged vast majority of citizenry to vote for change. Since the installation of President Adama Barrow in January 2017, he has not only betrayed and abandoned his election promises but also continuing put our country into dangerous path of encouraging extra-constitutional means of regime change.
The Gambian people are well aware of the fact that this government has not done any kind of reform ; whether it is a political, security and economic reform agenda it has promised. Instead, we have seen relentless and rampant corruption, nepotism and outrageous political brinkmanship to hijack the wishes and aspirations of the Gambian people. President Adama Barrow lack moral integrity and authority to bring genuine reforms The Gambian people truly aspired when they voted for him into office. During the past three years, President Adama Barrow and his cronies are only interested to enrich themselves while the majority of our country men and women live under one dollar a day . This is evidence by the corruption allegations against President Barrow including unaccounted 35 million Dalasis into his wife foundation, building of expensive mansion at his home village and sending his children , relatives and friends to western universities and colleges.
After spending more than one hundred million Dalasis of taxpayers money on the draft constitution, President Barrow and his entire cabinet campaigned against the draft constitution in the cabinet deliberations and various media outlets. The National Assembly rejection of the new draft constitution was deliberately based on this systematic political campaign. This is another wasteful spending. The first wasteful spending of 50 million Dalasis of the taxpayers money was on Janneh’s Commission and the recommendations of that commission still sit in the dustbin at the office of President while assets of former President Jammeh were sold without proper legal process. People who were adversely mentioned in the commission report as key enablers for Jammeh’s financial crimes are now not only serving President Barrow at his pleasure in the cabinet but also promoted to lucrative senior leadership positions in the government. In essence nothing has changed in the country since the installation of this government. All the former key players in Jammeh’s regime are back in the same positions. Adama Barrow who was considered to be an agent of change during the last election has become an anti-change political leader whose main objective is self-perpetual rule like his predecessor, the former Dictator Yaya Jammeh.
The demise of the new draft constitution has effectively place another greatest threat to our democracy because President Barrow has every tool at his disposal in 1997 constitution to abuse power and enrich himself. The threat to our new democracy is also amplified by the rampant corruption and lack of security sector reform as well as significant grievances among junior soldiers in the Armed Force. There is every indication that the rejection of new draft constitution has also increased threat of the possibility of extra-constitutional means to bring about regime change in the country if President Barrow continues to shows indifference to wishes and aspirations of the Gambian people. After all, Jammeh and his cohorts had used the same opportunity to topple 30 years of PPP government. The Gambia is back to where it was in 1994 when we had political brinkmanship within PPP political leadership structure, significant grievances among armed forces as a result of Nigerian military presence in the country as well as lack of economic and political reforms. The current situation in Mali is a clear evidence that extra constitutional means of regime change in West Africa is still a high possibility in many countries considering the corrupt political leadership and desire for self-perpetual rule. I hope that did not happen in the poor Gambia at any time again .
The way forward is for President Barrow to go back to the main agenda of coalition leadership and advocate for change that he was elected to champion. Failure to champion the change WE THE PEOPLE aspired during the last election will automatically categorize him not only a liability to change but also a significant threat to our new democracy.
Editor’s note: The author’s views do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. Thanks for your kind attention.
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