EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Majority of the eight-member party coalition that brought President Adama Barrow to power in the 2016 general election, Friday agreed to extend his mandate from three years as agreed, to five years, saying Barrow never asked for the extension.
Agreed at a meeting held at State House in Banjul, in which the UDP and PDOIS parties are said to have been absent, the coalition chairperson, Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang said they will continue to stand for the country and champion its cause.
Barrow Barrow has been under pressure from individuals and groups who have been calling him to step down at the end of his three years mandate this year, as agreed with the coalition leaders.
Mrs Jallow-Tambajang, who was Mr Barrow’s first vice president said their decision was to strengthen the coalition body to support the government. “This is a coalition government and the coalition is the advisory body on both political and economic matters that would help to support government agenda,” she said.
President Barrow came to power in 2016, ending 22-year rule of exiled former dictator Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of serious human right violations and corruption. In July 2017, Mr Barrow instituted a Commission of Inquiry to probe into activities of institutions and bodies in connection to their financial dealings with Mr Jammeh.
Since the coalition three years mandate agreement and the coming of Mr Barrow to power, there have not being serious campaign from the coalition body for Mr Barrow to step down this December, but several groups, including the one that call themselves “Operation 3 years Jotna” have been asking him to respect the agreement and step down in December for a fresh election to be conducted.
“The main purpose of the meeting is to continue the discussion for the past two years. The change was everybody’s responsibility which everyone stood for. We did not stand for only regime change but also for the system of governance to build the foundation of governance and the rule of law,” Mrs Jallow-Tambajang said.
She said they realised that the agenda was adopted by the Coalition 2016, including economic and judiciary reforms and the establishment of a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) because they inherited a 22-year of poor governance and a broken economy.
The coalition brainchild said the reform agenda that was adopted which has the legitimacy to ensure that the agenda is completed is not yet completed, saying they have discussed together with President Barrow and on the basis of the in-completion of the reform agenda, they decided to extend his social legitimacy to extend his three year mandate to five years. “He did not ask for it and we will continue to stand for the country and champion the cause of the country.”
She said Mr Barrow has shown interest, respect and the recognition and the love for the coalition and its contribution, assuring him that the extension of the mandate is coming from the coalition and he has the legal backing and the social legitimacy.
“The MoU is important. But the fundamentals are the agreements signed by all parties, which entail the reform agenda,” she said, adding that if that reform agenda is incomplete, and considering the state in which they took the government, they cannot leave that half-way and ask for elections or find another president.