Gambia: They called him The ‘Accidental’ President; Three years on, did he prove critics wrong?

The Echoes Of A Betrayed People, Under An Accidental President.

Before 2016 and even when he was controversially elected as the flag-bearer to head a coalition of seven parties to confront one of Africa’s most feared president at the time, Mr. Adama Barrow was a novice to the Gambia political circle.

While his opponent, an idol of a repressive rule on the continent, whose insatiable taste for power after 22 years in cartel-like governance kept on compelling him to demand more. Let us, therefore, settle the fact soonest, that, the battle for the Presidency in The Gambia was at this time going to be fought between two contrasting characters.

Through my faithfully following of the political development in that country, I quickly noted that these were to be rare moments in the political history of The Gambia primarily because Gambians have found a long-lost hope in the opposition side of the political divide and their coming together served as a catalyst for renewing the trust that President Jammeh could be defeated by a united front and that was first and last against any others issue. Even though Gambians jumped up and down chanting “change,” it never does matter to them who led the united opposition to confront the dictatorship at the time! For all that was meaningful, Gambians wanted Jammeh out, and anyone against him would have won anyway.

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In any case, it was Mr. Adama Barrow, the real estate agent turned politician who was going to be the mosses of The Gambia.

Gambia’s experience under an open prison for twenty-two years and previously under a neglectful rule for more than three decades, won’t tolerate the brand of leaders that Mr. Barrow naturally presents in every aspect. His political honeymoon with Gambians thus would be a short-lived one as his catalog of weaknesses and inexperience began to manifest and counted in many corners.

The plethora of maladministration, coupled with the endless struggles to solidify himself with power, have left most Gambians lost hope in Him (Barrow).

When the coalition began to crumble a few weeks into governance, as was predicted by many, serious implications for the new administration began to surface. For his political survival, Mr. Barrow was open to welcoming just anyone into his bus. This is evident by the heavy reliance on the old guards of the former regime by his regime. In a rather flexible but still old odd system of governance, the Barrow administration retained Jammeh’s former top officials as he implores several tactics to maintain power.

The crux of the many challenges that continue to confront the Barrow political agenda was his immediate but deliberate decision to side-line the magnificent Agenda of the coalition that led him to defeat Jammeh. Initially, he made the promise to serve as a three-year transitional government, a promise that was immediately forgotten when he assumed power. Few attempts to force him down through protest failed.

There is nothing more needful than a commission of inquiry after two years of misrule. Consequently, to address issues of corruption and human rights allegation, allegedly perpetrated by former President Jammeh, Mr. Barrow instituted the “Janneh Commission” to investigate the said matters. The glory of this commission and others, such as the ongoing TRRC, has been threatened by a recent Court of Appeal ruling that the findings of a commission of inquiry cannot be enforced by the Government. This is despite millions of dollars been already spent.

It is vain to hope that the Barrow administration will address the undocumented unemployment rate in The Gambia. So, what then would prevent the youths in the newfound freedom of expression from demanding for a job opportunity? But of all ambitious African politicians, the cries of the youths have never been their burden.

The above does not in any way presuppose that Mr. Barrow is the architect of Gambia’s predicaments. Maybe, it points more to his inability to proffer solutions to them, in a country that is desperate for change.

Comparatively, however, there is no more childish display of antics by a president in The Gambia; no state instituted human rights violations, freedom of speech, and disregard for the rule of law. The negatives on Barrow’s performance report outweigh the positives. Thus many Gambians still maintain the position that he is indeed an ‘accidental’ president.

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