By Abdoulie John
President Adama Barrow’s Coalition partners agreed on a three-year transition period that has left the Gambian leader’s fate in limbo. President Barrow swore to rule the Gambia for a five-year mandate, which is in line with the constitution. The question that is left unanswered is whether President Barrow will flow with the constitution or the Coalition partnership agreement. Even Barrow finds himself trapped, which is why he has thrown the ball into the people’s court. By going either way, Mr. Barrow will not escape blame. He wants the very Gambians who elected him into office on December 1st to decide his fate.
“It is left to Gambians to answer the question,” Adama Barrow said when asked whether he would step down at the end of the transition period. It is an answer that leaves some journalists at last week’s news conference with a taste of dissatisfaction.
In the run up to December 2016 Presidential elections, opposition parties adopted a coalition manifesto outlining a three-year transition period to fix ousted President Yahya Jammeh’s mess before calling for a levelled playing general elections. Some interest groups urge President Barrow to abide by the October 17, 2016 Coalition agreement. Under this agreement, the Head of State should call for fresh polls after creating “a levelled playing field.”
President Barrow has enjoyed and continues to enjoy high public ratings but his latest utterance has already sparked mixed reactions.
Like anything Gambian, the presidential term quagmire has become trending on social media. “It is in the best interest of the Gambia for President Adama Barrow to serve for 5 years as constituted than serve for 3 years as gently agreed upon under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU),” a committed Gambian diasporan activist Alhagie Sowe wrote on his Facebook wall. “I was at first in support of honouring the MOU but after considering the risks and uncertainties it may harbour, I have now come to terms that it was just a vehicle we needed to get us to where we are today and that’s where it should stop.”
Sweden-based activist disagreed with Sowe’s take. Benny Ek-Williamsson wants political parties to take seriously an agreement that has cemented a strong collaboration between political parties that collectively sent dictator Jammeh packing. “But I trust they will solve this in a way that will be good,” he said.