‘I Swore Twice To Defend Constitution’

Gambian President Adama Barrow has justified his decision to complete his constitutionally mandated five-year term of office instead of honouring a three-quar campaign promise.

“I swore twice by the holy quran in Dakar and The Gambia to defend and act according to the national constitution,” President Barrow said in his New Year’s message. “Under these circumstances I cannot honour the coalition agreement in preference over the constitution. The desire to destroy dictatorship by all democratic means guided us in the development of the coalition agreement.”

President Barrow said his government has been busy fixing his predecessor government’s mess he had inherited. Since taking over power in January 2017, the Barrow government has embarking on institutional reforms, fixing bad governance, guaranteeing human rights of Gambians.

On Tuesday, the Independent Electoral Commission announced the registration of President Barrow’s National People’s Party, much to the consternation of the three-year campaigners. But Mr. Barrow had earlier announced in Banjul that he was fulfilling appeals of citizens from across the country to register a party and compete in 2021 election. President Barrow called the announcement “breaking news” of his tour.

“While tendering my resignation is not unconstitutional as some people argued, it is irresponsible and imprudent to do so if it is not prompted and justified by principles linked to statehood,” he said, believing that his resignation would be translated as betraying the majority people. President Barrow would not succumb to any amount of pressure by a minority group to quit without completing his mandate.

Mr. Barrow said most of the Coalition government’s priorities, including the electoral reform process are not complete. “For this purpose the electoral reform process is in progress to ensure that all national elections are free and fair,” he said. He said his government’s modest achievements demonstrate his determination to right wrongs of the Jammeh regime and set the country on socio-economic development road.

President Barrow said his government had set up commissions of inquiry, carried out development projects and would send a bill on Freedom of Information. “From 2020 onward sharper focus will be cast on human resource and infrastructure development, social services, institutional strengthening,” President Barrow said.

“It is the people who develop a country but it is the people themselves who stall the progress of their nations to avoid this we must not violate the legal frameworks, ethical values and code of ethics that govern the discharge of our responsibilities and duties as citizens of the country.”


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