Barrow Will Not Commit Political Suicide

By Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu

All those who accepted President Adama Barrow’s appointment know that public office is temporal and Barrow has the constitutional powers to fire or redeploy people. The Gambia’s development partners at home and abroad are also aware of this legitimate Executive Prerogative of President Barrow.

Appointees should not therefore have a sense of entitlement or the self-perception of indispensability.

The interest of The Gambia supersedes the interests of given political parties or cult-like political groupings.

Before people start pouncing on Barrow to honour the 3-year agreement, let them ask whether other Coalitions partners would have honoured the agreement if they were the victorious flagbearer(s)? They cannot guarantee that due to the dictates of realpolitik.

When Barrow started, some lousy folks were yapping on him to follow the “bad Jammeh Constitution” as it served their interests then.
Now that Barrow is learning fast on the job and honouring the Constitution that gives him a 5-year mandate through legitimate election, they see their chances of ruling The Gambia dwindling hence they would want Barrow to now ignore the Constitution and honour the 3-year agreement.

Presidential Adviser Gomez has made us to understand that the 3-year agreement was a product of greed. Meaning the parties were not wishing each other the constitutional chance to be President for 5 years.

The parties to Coalition 2016 have the option of meeting and voting to adjust their agreement to suit the 5-year term for Barrow. Digging their heads in the sand and letting Barrow to be in the hot seat of aggressive criticism would not absolve them.
We must not forget that until the next constitution is approved by Gambians in a referendum, the current 1997 Constitution gives President Barrow the powers to dissolve the National Assembly and replace Nominated Members of Parliement.
Those who want to impeach Barrow would need a two-third majority to do that and if they want to battle Barrow for firing some of their political god figures, they would be engaging in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) of their respective political careers.

The recent rejection of the Supplementary Appropriation (SA) Bill 2018 by the National Assembly is not a defeat for President Barrow but a blow to the concerned recycled officials who did not do their homework well.

The Constitution provides for an SA and the one presented by the Finance Minister was rejected on procedurial grounds. The Minister of Finance should have presented the SA to the National Assembly at least forty (40) days before the end of the budget year and the requested sum should not have exceeded one (1) percent of the approved budget.

Looking at realpolitik, I endorse President Barrow’s plan to consolidate his power till 2021 and if Gambians want it, he can seek re-elections afterwards.

My concern is the introduction of two five-year term limits in the next Constitution. Once this is done, am satisfied.

President Adama Barrow is transformational President and not a transitional one. He will not resign in 2019 simple because some people feel they are entitled to rule The Gambia and not Borrow.

Politics is not about Sainthood. Barrow Manasi (Barrow did not come to power to sit and idle). His national development and transformation projects will save him from political suicide, anytime soon. He is independent and has the right to join any other political party of his choice or form a new party. The advantages of incumbency in African political setting is factor that cannot be ignored though some would like to discount it.

Long live our Team Barrow.


One Comment

  1. “We must not forget that until the next constitution is approved by Gambians in a referendum, the current 1997 Constitution gives President Barrow the powers to dissolve the National Assembly and replace Nominated Members of Parliament”.

    The above statement is not only concerning but also tends to dangerously give President Barrow an absolute power to dissolve the National Assembly without any explanation. I have read the 1997 constitution and I cannot find a single provision which states that the president shall have the power to dissolve National Assembly. The only constitutional provision that talks about dissolution of National Assembly is section 99(1) which indicate that:

    “Subject to provisions of this section, the National Assembly shall stand dissolve on the day immediately preceding the day appointed in accordance with section 97 for the first session of the next following National Assembly,”

    Here is what section 97 (2) states :

    (2). The President may request the Speaker summon a session of the National Assembly in the event of a declaration of a public emergency under section 34.

    Section 34 deals with declaration of state of Public emergency. It read :

    34(1) . The President May at any time by proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that –

    (a) a state of public emergency exists in the whole or any part of The Gambia .

    (b) a situation exist which , if it is allowed to continue, may lead to a state of public emergency.

    34(2) A declaration made under this section shall lapse at the expiration of a period of seven days or if the National Assembly is not then in session twenty-one days , beginning on the day on which the proclamation is published in the Gazette unless, before the expiration of that period , it has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members thereof .

    Looking at above constitutional provisions , the constitution even limit the power of the president in declaration of state of public emergency because the declaration must be made in the Gazette which must be approved and supported by two-third of National Assembly members by seven or twenty-one days respectively. So where else did the constitution give the President the power to dissolve National Assembly? I am very curious to see that constitutional provision. I challenge Mr Sankanu to clearly state the constitutional provision which give the president an absolute power to dissolve National Assembly. Gambians would recall that during political impasse , it was the current constitution which gave power to the former National Assembly members to declare state of emergency and extend Dictator Jammeh’s term of office to three months. I wonder why Mr Sankanu forgot so soon about such betrayal and violation of constitutional rights of Gambian people at the time. If the current constitution has such provision for president then Jammeh would have dissolved the National Assembly and extended his term of office by himself.

    It is very dangerous to educate the president and general public about fallacious constitutional provisions for political expediency. Mr Sankanu spoke emotionally on this subject matter without any substantial research or intelligent reasoning. It would be productive and credible to reference the constitution when you want to make such claim about the power and functions of the president. In the absent of any meaningful reference, Mr Sankanu’s claim is like Dictator Jammeh’s claim that he could cure AIDS , rule Gambia for one billion years or he owned The Gambia. Those are imaginary claims . In other words, such claim has zero evidence to substantiate its accuracy or test hypothesis.

    The constitution of The Gambia is clear about the executive power and duties of the president as well as the National Assembly members who are elected to hold executive to account. The National Assembly members are law makers who has constitutional power and duty to remove the president if he/she fails in his /her functions as a result of mental incapacitation , abuse of office and other serious crimes against The Gambia . This is stated in section 67 (5) which explains the procedure about misconduct by the president. The President has no constitutional power to dissolve National Assembly indefinitely without two-third National Assembly members support.

    It is so sad to see some Gambian intellectuals stoop so low in turning of our political leaders into a political dictators with fake constitutional power to hijack common interest of the people. Mr Sankanu’s false proclamation and ascribed unlimited power to President Barrow is such a classic example of intellectual dishonesty of highest order to propagate dictatorial tentacles in our current political dispensation. If President Barrow has such power to dissolve National Assembly for political expediency as it seems suggested by Mr Sankanu , then why do we elect National Assembly members when the president has power to dissolve National Assembly? This is absolutely nonsensical to say the least. I would encourage Mr Sankanu to read the constitution before making false claim about the power and mandate vested on the president.

    I would not waste my time to engage in a useless political fight when already the constitution gives President Barrow the mandate to serve five year term . I support constitutional provision of five years mandate and I am on record for that statement. I think the rest of Mr Sankanu’s political inedible innuendos are directed at UDP leadership.
    President Barrow was a registered executive member of UDP until he resigned to contest as coalition independent candidate for 2016 presidential election. President Barrow’s political future depends on his moral leadership in executing his duties to advance our economic development and democratic ideals. I would encourage Mr President to focus on his job until 2021 when he has constitutional right to decide his political future. President Barrow engaging in perpetual political campaign is detrimental to his political future and the future of The Gambia .

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