EYEAFRICA TV: President Adama Barrow held a discussion with West Coast Region council of elders at State House on Monday afternoon, where he gave a statement that appears to demonstrate that he is not yet ready to honour the three years mandate agreement he had with the 8 party leaders that formed the coalition.
“Except that I make my decision and later change, my mandate is five years and I will complete it because there are unfinished works,” Mr. Barrow told the group of elders from Gambia’s biggest region. “This will be added to my legacy. They will say President Barrow brought a constitution that can be valid for fifty to one hundred years.”
He said other countries will appointed transitional governments but he is a completely different one from those because he was elected by the people.
Mr. Barrow and leaders of the eight political parties that formed the coalition that brought him to power in 2016, had a three-year mandate agreement for the president before they can all go back to their parties. But this agreement appears to be not honored by all the parties.
As the three years agreement ends this December, several groups have been pressuring Mr. Barrow to respect his agreement with the coalition leaders and step down at the end of the three years, but he said at the meeting that there is no future to show the reliability of that. “We agreed that we will review our constitution in three years, then we can go to election. But is that even happening? there is no consultation. Before the three years mandate stands, there should be a draft and sent to cabinet, then to the Assembly then to referendum.”
Apparently disappointed by majority of his ministers who did not attend the Monday meeting, Mr. Barrow praised his easy to handle tourism and culture minister, Amat Bah who was present, assuring him that he is in his bus. “You are all strongly working for the country and for me. President only looks for people who can work. Only one of my ministers is present here. I trust that Amat Bah is in my bus, and West Coast Region too and the entire Gambian people,” he said.
He said he wants to bring reforms and strong institutions to the country which will also be added to his legacy, also saying that he want to be the first president who will bring comprehensive security sector reform to The Gambia and bring responsive to democratic principles. “I want that too to be added to my legacy. I am the first president that audited the security sector reform to understand how it is functioning because I brought it here.”
Mr. Barrow pointed an accusing finger to the 22 years lavish rule of his predecessor Yahya Jammeh, accounting him the responsibility of bankrupting the country. “Governments work on process and on the rule of law. But the day I took office, there was less than one month budget in the government coffers, with a 1.20% debt to GDP. That was more than what we earn in a year as a country.”
He said this unbearable situation even forced his government to be taking loan from commercial banks, but today, there is over 200 million dalasi plus is in the government’s Federal Reserve. “I don’t like too much talking. What I believe in is what should be done must be done. We have great hopes on our diasporans because we believe that when a Gambian travels to US, UK and other countries, he is awaken and will be able to contribute to the county’s development.”
President Barrow also told the people of WCR and Gambians that they must be responsible in making use of the democratic atmosphere that his government provided, saying they must understand how to handle democracy.
He said he and his government can guarantee Gambians that there will be a five-month government budget available so that when he leaves office, there will be something for the new government to maintain the balance.