The Supremacy Of The Constitution Over Political Agreement

In the light of the debate over the tenure of President Adama Barrow and whether he should honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or stick to the five years presidential term, I ask the following pertinent questions:

Why did “the guardian of the Gambians constitution” propose and sign an MOU knowing that it contains an unconstitutional clause?

He never misses an opportunity to challenge anyone who infringes on the constitution. One wonders why he ignores the supremacy of the constitution over any law, agreement or document this time around?

Did the man has something in mind at the time i.e expecting to be the vice president and becoming the president after the resignation of the President?

Regardless of whatever his Motives are I think that this issue cannot or must not be determined by the willingness or unwillingness of President Barrow to resign; rather, given the constitutional, political and financial implications of the issues it should be decided by The Gambians through their representatives.

The MOU is a political document and not a legal agreement; it is just akin to the political agreement that was reached between UN representatives and the presidents of Guinea Conakry and Mauritania over the safe exit of the former president Yahya Jammeh. That agreement is not legally binding because it doesn’t satisfy legal requirements; hence it was not honoured by the Gambians who were not part of the agreement.

Similarly, the MOU signed by political parties is not a legal agreement because the people of The Gambia were not represented or part of the agreement. It was proposed and signed by politicians. Therefore, since we have an established parliament which was democratically elected, the issue should be subject to their agreement, for it should be and cannot be decided by Barrow alone as the issue is beyond his own affairs; it is a national affair which should be decided by the people and not a few unelected politicians.

Alieu SK Manjang



  1. Alieu SK Manjang, can I ask you a simple question: what is it you intend to achieve with the above write-up ? Please find time to share your objective(s) with this audience ?

    Personally, I think the debate surrounding the term of President Barrow is definitely a matter of Public interest and thus, any who have opinions on it should not shy away from making it known and also actively engaging in the discussions, with a view to finding an amicable solution to a looming crisis.

    The issue here is not about Hon. Halifa Sallah, and it will never be about him for many people, regardless of how hard people like Alieu SK Manjang try to make it so.

    The real issues are as follows:

    1. (a)…Should President Barrow fully enjoy his Constitutionally mandated 5 Year term; or
    (b)…Should be a man of his words and honour the 3 Year Coalition Agreement he signed (On behalf of the UDP) with his Coalition partners.

    2. Also, should he honour, with respect, the 3 Year Coalition Manifesto Pledge or should he honour it with disrespect and completely disregard it, as if it never existed ?

    Unfortunately, people like Mr Manjang, who falsify the facts surrounding the Coalition efforts, and who have not pointed out the supposed “unconstitutionality” of the 3 Year Transition Agreement at the material time, when the MOU was put before the public domain, Are the very reason why we have such a polarised nation around this issue.

    The incontestable truth is that the 3 Year Term of the flag bearer was discussed and agreed by all stakeholders in the Coalition and any claims or insinuations to state otherwise are false and dishonest.

    Nor also, does it contravene the Constitution because the Constitution did not stipulate a Minimum Term for the Presidency. To claim that the 3 Year Coalition Agreement is unconstitutional is to display sheer ignorance.

    Similarly, comparing the MOU to the so called agreement between Yaya Jammeh and ECOWAS is either bring ignorant of the facts or another attempt to misinform, through falsehood.

    Unlike the MOU, which was signed by ALL stakeholders and it’s essence captured in the Manifesto that was “sold” to the Gambian People, one of the key players, and probably the most important player, the Coalition incoming Government, was not a party to the signatories.

    So how could anybody compare the two to justify whatever claims they are making ?

    • i only hope you are not being so sentimental here….Gambians voted for five years as stipulated in the constitution and not the MOU between the politicians. The agreement was not sold out to Gambians and we cannot afford to go to the polls three times. Respect the constitution my brother and stop the political bickering. Gambians cannot go to a referendum twice for the sake of an MOU which has no legal bearing.

      • There’s an interesting piece on the subject on by a learned brother. I hope you find time to read it.

        • Hey Bax , I read that piece you are talking about . it simply mean the constitution override any MOU or agreement between oppositions. Fatu radio is now an opposition stronghold and PDOIS fan-base . They are constantly showcasing Halifa Sallah despite Halifa’s previous stand against the diaspora. Gambian people have voted for five years mandate. Right now the government should focus on how to get rid of the destabilizing forces within Foni who are a threat to our national security and peace . The government should put every asset of Dictator jammeh under state control and quickly move to recover the stolen wealth which PDOIS leadership denied. Jammeh must not be allowed to settle in EG . His assets outside the country must be frozen and criminal charges file to extradite him to Gambia . Anyone in foni who continue to be a threat to peace by engaging in violent must face the law . The Jammeh’s supporters of Foni must realize that they alone do not make Jammeh the president , in fact Based on the number of voters in foni , Jammeh would have never sat in the statehouse because Foni has very small voters compare to many parts of the country as far as the regional votes are concerned. It is only in Foni we have seen this post election violence.
          CDS kinteh should quickly expel from the Army all those who are not citizens of the Gambia and are not qualified to be in military. Incoming months , the interior ministry and Defense should quickly cleanse up the national security apparatus and get rid of people with questionable citizenship and qualifications. This will allow indigenous citizens have opportunity to be in the military , police force or secret services. President Barrow should set up special commission to look at the problem of illegal and non-citizens be in our national security apparatus without basic qualifications. Non-citizens who are qualified with outstanding background or education or do not pose any threat to our country , should be encouraged. The bottom line is that , all those who infiltrated our national security due to loyalty , nepotism or tribal inferential treatment or lack qualifications should be expelled as soon as possible. Some of these people who are illegal military officers already have their DNA linked to Cassamance because of their cultural ties and historical linked to three decade of tribal dominated rebellion which is based on barbarism and outright violence against their own people. Indigenous citizens of the Gambia irrespective of tribes deserve peace and stability in their own country.

  2. Max, what you have to understand is that the political situation that we have now in the Gambia transcends party politics. The governing environment does not make it feasible for party politics to thrive. After the national assembly elections party politics has now receded to the background where it belongs.

    The national interest is the principle that should guide the conduct of the national assembly. No more rubberstamp national assembly. People will be watching very keenly.

    I have also read the article in question and it is well written and very objective. It underscores the letter and spirit of the coalition MOU.

    And if the constitutional, institutional and legal reforms that form basis of the coalition MOU are carried out to the letter, the 3 year mandate of the transitional government will end in conformity with the letter and spirit of our republican constitution.