4 December 2017

Gambia: One Year After Elections - What Is the Way Forward?

Question Of The Day

It is now one year since the President Adama Barrow was declared elected after he gained the most votes at the 1 December 2016 presidential election.

He was selected and supported by seven opposition Political Parties (GMC, GPDP, NCP, NRP, PDOIS, PPP and UDP) and the Independent Candidate (Dr. Isatou Touray) in a democratic process. The demand of the time was that ex-President Jammeh must go.

The Coalition Candidate, Adama Barrow, who stood as an Independent Candidate, had a manifesto and committed himself to a three-year transition period.

He committed himself to economic stabilization and sustainable development. He hoped to achieve this through financial discipline both in terms of fiscal policy, public spending and revenue generation while encouraging expenditure based on means so as to reduce dependence on debt to meet budgetary requirements, increasing the income of low earners such as pensioners and those at the lower grades, enhancing the growth of the agricultural, industrial and service sectors as well as the informal sector of the economy.

The aim of the transitional administration is to stabilize the fundamentals of the economy and then push towards sustainable growth to serve as a foundation.

In the delivery of social services, the Coalition Government would work towards delivering quality and relevant basic education that is free, accessible and compulsory; primary health care focusing on the basic health needs of the population will be the basis of the health delivery system of the Coalition.

Regarding good governance, the transitional government will treat all Gambians equally regardless of gender, political, religious and tribal affiliation; respect human rights and will not engage in any form of revenge or witch hunt.

Regarding democracy and the rule of law, it will undertake institutional reforms of the executive, legislature, judiciary, civil service and other oversight institutions such as the office of the Ombudsman and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); review the Constitution and the Elections Act, work for a two term limit and the age limit of a presidential candidate, amend section 91 of the constitution, strengthen the security of tenure of judicial officials and members of the IEC, enact a Freedom of Information Act to strengthen media oversight, an NGO Act to promote Civil Society oversight, restructure and revitalize the law Reform Commission, protect civil servants and disciplined forces from being used for partisan political objectives; open the public media to divergent views and opinion as required by section 208 of the 1997 constitution and so on so forth.

The way forward is the implementation of the programme.

President Barrow himself has recognized that the "people have resolved that no longer again will the country return to misrule, bad governance and dictatorship."


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