Gambia: Coalition endorses 5 years for Barrow

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Coalition stakeholders met last Friday to endorse a five-year mandate for President Adama Barrow in contrast to the initial agreement of three years in 2016.

The meeting which was held at State House came following multiple pressures from distinct political entities particularly the ‘3 Years Jotna’, asking Mr. Barrow to step down in December as agreed in the Coalition MoU.

However, the outcome of the meeting which was not attended by the United Democratic Party (UDP) and People’s Democratic Organisation Independent and Socialism (PDOIS) has now given President Barrow a breathing space to continue his presidency in the next two years without distraction.

“The meeting of the coalition is news to me,” the leader of PDOIS Halifa Sallah told The Point. “We were not contacted. I am yet to have any evidence on this matter and we will react if we have clear information.”

UDP’s spokesperson Almamy F. Taal said: “We were not contacted; we were not invited at the Coalition meeting.

“The last time we met at Kairaba hotel in April this year, UDP’s position was the coalition agreement should be signed before consideration to any amendment or changes.”

“We will make clear our position when the time comes if Barrow should serve three years as it was agreed or five years as required by the constitution,” Mr. Taal said.

“On the basis of the incompletion of the reforms agenda, we, as a coalition, have decided to extend his [referring to President Barrow] social legitimacy from three (3) years to five (5) years,’’ Chairperson Aja Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang told State House press corps, revealing that the decision followed two years of consultations with all stakeholders both home and abroad.

Madame Tambajang added that the decision to extend was never solicited by the President; instead, it was borne out of the realisation that it defeats logic and reason to abandon the ongoing reforms halfway and call for a new election.

“That is why I said today is historic. This is something the whole world should hear. His Excellency did not ask for it. The Coalition is standing for the country and will continue standing for the country. We will continue to champion the cause of the country. That is why we thought it prudent to come and discuss and assess the journey so far.’’

“The MoU is important. But the fundamentals are the agreements signed by all parties, which entail the reform agenda. If that reform agenda is incomplete, and considering the state in which we took government, we cannot leave that half-way and ask for elections or find another president. That is not rational. It is not logical.”

Mrs. Jallow-Tambajang described President Barrow as someone who has shown interest, respect, and recognition for the Coalition.

It should be noted that 15 October 2016 was the coalition pact, Barrow was elected 30 0ctober

2016 as coalition’s flag bearer when he resigned from the UDP.

Gambia biggest political party, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has 31 seats in Parliament and PDOIS four. NRP has five seats and APRC, the former ruling party occupies five seats while GDC equally settles with five seats.

The first ruling political party, PPP has 2 seats.

Six political parties and the then independent candidate Dr. Isatou Touray, who is now vice president of The Gambia formed the coalition in 2016 to defeat former President Yahya Jammeh.

The six political parties were: UDP, PDOIS, GMC, NRP, PPP, NCP and GPDP.

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