(Al Jazeera)“Mr. President, Gambians elected you and not Massamba or Mademba”: The Gambian Reformation.

With the official inauguration of President Adama Barrow in the Republic of the Gambia (neé ‘The Islamic Republic of the Gambia’) having occurred on the 18th February, the potency of his demands and policies finally can begin to be appraised.

 

In a world where Trump has been elected as President of the United States, and the Brits voted for Brexit, it would seem ironic that the Gambia – formerly under an oppressive leader – would seemingly pave the way towards acceptance and democratic improvement. Yet, this is what President Adama Barrow is seeking to achieve through a radical reinvention of the Gambia’s political system.

Prior to his election, Barrow outlined his policies which represent a reformation of the democratic system of the Gambia as it is known. Amongst his policies are the following:

  • An assurance of freedom of the press;
  • The reinstating of the Gambia’s former name- The Republic of the Gambia- revoking the former religious associations;
  • The reformation of the National Intelligence Agency, including renaming and a shift to understand that “the rule of the law, that will be the order of the day”;
  • The rejoining of the Commonwealth;
  • A promise to create a temporary transition government formed from opposition coalition which would last for three years.

 

However, is Barrow maintaining any of the policies that he set out? Or is he following in the footsteps of countless political leaders and making false promises? Put simply, Barrow appears to be following through. Already he has positioned the Gambia to rejoin the Commonwealth, has recently altered the organization of the State Intelligence Services (formerly the National Intelligence Agency), and is promoting freedom of the press. Furthermore, he is enforcing an emphasis on establishing a commission in order to find missing political prisoners, whilst simultaneously ordering the freedom of 171 prisoners detained without trial.

 

Yet, it remains difficult in these early stages of Presidency to comprehend the extent of the manifestation of his policies, and his desire to fulfil them. As of current, Barrow has failed to act on a complete formation of a temporary transition government formed from opposition coalition. Currently, every other party except for one is represented, with Barrow considering filling the remaining spaces with technocrats instead of politicians. In addition, with a proposed timeline of resigning the current government after three years, in direct opposition to his predecessor’s 22-year rule, can the extent of his policies be retained, or are they “doomed” for a death fit for a great Classical writer to depict? To attempt to assess and forecast his policies at such an early stage is difficult, and to assume with confidence his abilities is naïve. However, from the current position of standing, President Barrow is seemingly setting a precedence for the reformation of democracies from tyrannical rule.

 

As has been expressed by the Gambians:

 

“Mr. President, so far you made very good appointments appreciated by Gambians please continue to do so without fear or favor.”

 

Written by: Dodo Charles

  1. Girigara, Pa Njie. “Gambia: An Open Letter to President Adama Barrow.” 15 February 2017. Freedom Newspaper. 18 February 2017. <http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/gambia-an-open-letter-to-president-adama-barrow/&gt;.
  2. Al Jazeera. “President Adama Barrow orders release of 171 prisoners.” 20 February 2017. Al Jazeera. 21 February 2017
  3. Al Jazeera. “President Adama Barrow orders release of 171 prisoners.” 20 February 2017. Al Jazeera. 21 February 2017.
  4. Al Jazeera. “President Adama Barrow orders release of 171 prisoners.” 20 February 2017. Al Jazeera. 21 February 2017.
  5. BBC. “Gambia elections: President-elect Adama Barrow’s life story .” 19 January 2017. BBC NEWS. 19 February 2017.
  6. BBC. “Gambia’s Jammeh loses to Adama Barrow in shock election result.” 2 December 2016. BBC News. 20 February 2017.
  7. Al Jazeera. “The Gambia: President Adama Barrow pledges reforms.” 27 January 2017. Al Jazeera. 19 February 2017.
  8. The Point. “Barrow swears in new cabinet, one coalition party missing.” 2 February 2017. The Point for freedom and democracy. 19 February 2017.
  9. Girigara, Pa Njie. “Gambia: An Open Letter to President Adama Barrow.” 15 February 2017. Freedom Newspaper. 18 February 2017. <http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/gambia-an-open-letter-to-president-adama-barrow/&gt;.

 

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Author: alternativefactsuk

Current Affairs and Economics from Loud Voices

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