Gambia: Vice President Clears the Air

The National Assembly members insisted that the Vice President must be present to listen to the response of the National Assembly members to the Address of the President. One issue that was trying the minds of most Gambians was the tenure of the President. Many National Assembly members lamented the failure of the President to officially state whether he was going to honour the three -year mandate agreed under Coalition 2016 or disregard it. Hence the member for Serrekunda indicated that he would treat the issue since the President preferred to be silent on the matter.

After his deliberation, the Vice President responded without any ambiguity that in their first sitting, the Cabinet unanimously reached a decision that President Barrow will serve a five year term. She said that this message should have been conveyed to the Gambian people.

Now Gambians can conclude that President Barrow and his Cabinet unilaterally decided to honour the Coalition Agreement with total disregard. It should therefore be no surprise why he removed most of the Ministers who were linked to political parties which were part of the Coalition and appointed successors as he pleased.

It is thus important for the original members of Coalition 2016 not to give the impression that they are giving President Barrow a five-year mandate. The five-year mandate is a constitutional mandate. The three- year mandate is a by-product of a coalition agreement which is in line with the constitution, but cannot be imposed against the will of the President. Now Gambians on all sides of the political spectrum should begin a debate on the way forward for the country.

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