Does President Adama Barrow Merit a Second Chance?
What is Barrow’s compelling argument for the Second Term In Office?
Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: As the renowned American Diplomat and Political Scientist Dr.Henry Kissinger stated,” those who are indifferent to power will be overtaken by political power seekers.” True to this statement, the average Gambian has been indifferent or lukewarm towards political influence. Consequently, the political power elites have dominated political power since independence. As December 4, 2021, presidential elections draw nearer. Do president Adama Barrow deserve and have a compelling argument for reelection to a second term in office? Or is it in the best interest of the Gambia to re-elect President Adama Barrow for another five years?
To accentuate the Gambia’s greatness, we should understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of the short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the faint-hearted path for those that prefer leisure over work or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Instead, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things some celebrated, but more often, men and women obscure in their labor who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
Time and again, Gambians struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw the Gambia as more prominent than the sum of our ambitions, more significant than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
Fatoumatta: Why is the Gambia, with its endowed human and natural resources struggling to translate into equivalent benefits for the people leading to the economic and political significance, always eager to accommodate strange people with strange missions from our political corridor? You can answer these questions by borrowing from George Orwell’s cynicism. Everything, he said, is politics – and politics “is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.” You will do well for your sanity if you agree with Orwell and refuse to be blinded.
If everything is political – it should then include the management of ensuring our security and continuing stability, efforts and commitment for winning the fight against bribery and corruption and promoting good governance, addressing the solution of rising youth employment, and the lack of it; it should include the war on thieves, over the looting of our treasury, and the endless wait for the supplies quality of health care services. Finally, it should include opening our borders for beasts of no nation to come to populate – and terrorize – our endowed natural resources.
Fatoumatta: What are the compelling arguments for a second term for President Barrow? Gambians have too much expectation of their governments. They had argued in defense of the people’s right to a heightened expectation. However, for the sake of argument, Gambians conceded quietly that the people’s expectations of their leaders, especially the president, are too high and unrealistic. Nevertheless, the state of the Gambian economy calls for action, bold and swift. Moreover, President Barrow should act to create new jobs and lay a new foundation for growth. He should build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.
President Barrow and his government should believe, encourage and restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise healthcare quality and lower its cost. He should harness the sun, the winds, and the soil to generate green energy and run our factories.
Furthermore, president Barrow and his government should transform our schools and universities to meet new age demands. All this we can do. All this we will do.
Fatoumatta: Does President Adama Barrow have a compelling argument for a Second Term? Gambian electorates underestimate the level of the rot in every sphere of the Gambian polity. Even those living in The Gambia and the Gambia Diaspora community grossly underestimated the decay and what it would take to fix it. So we also have to give him that – the rot is deep, and we underestimate it. The shock treatment that the Gambia needs an inevitable televised revolution allowed the emotional rollercoaster of our lives to reach heights and depths that had previously been unreached. We have been enraged and in tears of sorrow at the same time. We have seen the evil and the wicked hearts and acts of many. We have seen their inner thoughts be expressed in social media posts.
The Gambia needs so great that any leader who embarks on it will be deemed an error by all the Gambia’s political darkness forces. Gambian electorates will do all within their power to deny such a charismatic visionary and transformative leader a second term. If necessary, voters will kill him, for the Gambia’s political actors are killers. However, on the other hand, president Barrow’s conduct can cause an economic and political tsunami of positive changes in a nation’s life, for there is nothing like the Presidency’s symbolic and optical value.
Fatoumatta: As December 4, 2021, presidential elections draw nearer, I have studied the unfolding dynamics and permutations; my conclusion is that President Adama Barrow has an overwhelming argument and considered factors to be re-elected for another five-year mandate.
My first reason is that the Gambia has recorded remarkable economic growth under President Adama Barrow after overhauling its gross domestic product data for the first time in more than two decades. According to verifiable figures released by Finance Minister Mr. Mambury Njie presenting the 2022 Budget before the hallowed chamber, Mr. Njie said that The Gambia’s economy is expected to grow at 6.8 percent, with all sectors of the GDP expected to register increased growth rates. He added that the agriculture sector is estimated to grow from 4.5 percent in 2021 to 6.3 percent in 2022. He further said that the macroeconomic and economic governance reforms better manage including the country’s natural resources and human capital development. This pushed the Gambia to a considerable achievement. However, this development was not achieved overnight. It was a result of the direct dynamic approach of the president in terms of more excellent investment in entrepreneurship and private sector participation.
Fatoumatta: Does president Barrow has an overwhelming argument for a second term? President Barrow has recorded a significant improvement in the power sector, backed with excellent roads and infrastructural development. The bold initiative of rural electrification and improved power supply in the Gambia. Most Gambians can confirm that there has been a commendable improvement. However, we do not have a power supply round the clock.
Does president Barrow have a case for a second term: There has also been more remarkable road rehabilitation in the Gambia in Basse in the Upper River Region at the cost of $100 million to provide residents of the region with a robust transportation network, particularly the flagship bridge that linked Basse and Wuli named the Samba Juma bridge. President Barrow also inaugurated the Laminkoto Passamas 120 kilometers road project. Adama Barrow also unveiled to the people of Niumi in the North Bank Region that the all-important Hakalong road is the only highway that connects most of Upper Niumi to the rest of the region, alongside a $66 million electricity project for the surrounding communities. The Electricity Expansion Project has been successfully executed at a total cost of over $ 22.5 million. It is a crucial milestone for the government’s drive towards achieving universal access to electricity in the Gambia by 2025.
Fatoumatta: Does president Barrow have a shred of overwhelming evidence for a second term? President Barrow’s government has also commissioned and renovated 1389 additional classrooms, built 2505 school toilets across the country, and made Basse, a college campus school, especially in the Upper River Region, to bring the commoners’ education doorsteps.
Does president Barrow have a piece of overwhelming evidence for reelection? President Barrow’s administration has pursued a robust foreign policy since its inception. As a result, the Gambia, which previously lagged in the comity of nations, has now assumed her rightful position as a leader in the international community. The successful rejoining of the Commonwealth. Through the legal process of readmissions, the Gambia government under president Barrow sought to rebuild world standing in an era of socio-economic development. However, in 2013 president Yahya Jammeh pulled the country out of the Commonwealth. Yahya Jammeh at the time gave the reason that the 52 -member group was a “neo-colonial institution.”
However, President Barrow’s fast track hosting the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 2022 is a testament to this. The Gambia under President Barrow has assumed a dynamic force in the West African sub-region and beyond. The Gambia is heading The Economic Community of West African States( ECOWAS), elected Gambian diplomat Dr.Omar Touray as ECOWAS President. Dr.Omar Touray, the first Gambian to hold the top position at the ECOWAS Commission, is proud of the Gambia and all Gambians. The Gambia has participated in peacemaking and peacebuilding initiatives globally, with Gambian troops deployed in several countries and beyond. In president Barrow’s administration, the Gambia and Senegal committed to peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness. They enjoy the dividends of peace, security, and stability with international allies like the UK, US, and France, which have deepened and improved under the Barrow-led administration.
Fatoumatta: Doe president Barrow have a piece of overwhelming evidence for a second-term mandate? President Barrow has a reason for the need for continuity and stability in Gambia’s emergent democracy. As discussed above, having made tremendous progress, continuity is essential to sustain his numerous achievements in consolidating democracy and building infrastructure. The Gambia cannot afford to start afresh all over again. What is needed is a sustained initiative and a planned change of government after another five years.
Does president Barrow deserve reelection? Another fundamental reason Barrow should continue is that he is a democrat in all ramifications. Even some elements of the opposition attest to the democratic disposition of the president. President Barrow’s tolerance of dissent and political tolerance in the context of Democratic Theory is unprecedented in the annals of the Gambia. In the First and Second Republic, particularly under President Yahya Jammeh, the fundamental right to seek and disseminate information through an independent press was under attack. The was a concern for democracy and free press. Under President Barrow, Gambians and journalists benefit from strong constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, vibrant civil society, and vibrant opposition political parties. Unlike the previous administration, the leader of the opposition and his supporters as well independent journalists were harassed, exiled, imprisoned, and killed. Media housed closed and suffered nocturnal arson attacks.
Fatoumatta: However, today, members of the opposition and independent journalists can sleep with two eyes closed, thanks to the liberality of president Adama Barrow. The president has nonviolent body language that connotes peace. Today many opponents and dissents throw personal abuses and insults at the president without facing any consequences. Many African leaders would not take personal insults and abuses from the opposition or anybody for that matter. In the recent past, this would have been unthinkable. Those critics who think the president is weak should realize that it takes strength of character to absorb insults and abuses without adverse reactions. To his credit, there have been no politically motivated assassinations to date. Friends and Foes agree that Mr. President cannot “hurt” a fly.
Does president Barrow have a solid case for reelection on December 4, 2021, presidential elections? On record, democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades. Political rights and civil liberties deteriorated to their lowest point, extending a period characterized by emboldened autocrats, beleaguered democracy, and the Gambia’s struggle for human dignity and human freedom, and opposition parties have never suffered any persecution. On the contrary, they are free to campaign across the country without repression, unlike under all previous dispensations put together. This can be attributed to the democratic inclination of the president. He has reasonably erased the do-or-die politics of the past.
Fatoumatta: Does president Barrow deserve a second term in office? Again, electing president Barrow is a victory for the ordinary person. Adama Barrow can be said to be amongst the Commoners from a humble beginning to emerge president. The wealthy and powerful political elites have dominated politics in the Gambia from time immemorial. It does not matter if they are from rural or urban Gambia, Christians or Muslims. The elites had always been in power in The Gambia. President Barrow’s emergence was an act of God that no mortal envisaged. Therefore ordinary and working-class Gambians must ensure that the elites do not bully president Barrow out of office. At the moment, the elites have united with the sole purpose of recapturing power for themselves and their descendants. They are using sensitive issues like tribalism and insecurity to blackmail the president. The antics of these desperate folks should not fool the Gambia. No single godfather owns the Gambia. The Gambia belongs to us all. Therefore we are all equal stakeholders, and thus the will of the majority must prevail.
Moreover, another five years of Barrow would mark the beginning of the end of the era of godfatherism in Gambian politics. The so-called godfathers in our national political life have held the Gambia to ransom, without rhyme or reason. They place unrealistic and unreasonable demands on the incumbents. Barrow’s first battle was to liberate himself from his so-called godfather, which he successfully and bravely did.
Fatoumatta: The next five years would allow the president to level all inequalities and provide a level playing field for all Gambians to enable eligible candidates to contest and win elections without depending on godfathers. Therefore, does president Barrow deserve a second term? Another reason Gambians should re-elect the president is because of the lack of credible politicians but careerist politicians who masquerade as democrats and patriots. Some politicians in the Gambia have weakened due to the absence of a defined ideological opposition and. Consociational attitudes in politics. Gambians have seen members of the opposition jump from party to party without any ideological framework. The only constant feature is the lust for power. As a result, the Gambia does not have a formidable opposition that can make a difference politically. The opposition missed the opportunity to stand out as the new national umbrella. All we hear is,” Give us power.” However, what are you going to do differently? What are your plans? Gambians need to know what agenda you have before they give you power.
The opposition has refused to tell Gambians what they have in stock for us. Instead, they are over-driven by the lust for power without a defined agenda. Therefore, mere criticizing the incumbent without proffering solutions is grossly inadequate.
Fatoumatta: Does any Gambian know how the opposition would tackle the energy crisis? Does anyone know their plans to create jobs? Does anyone know their plans to fight corruption? What about Education, Power, Healthcare? The list is endless. Suppose the opposition wants to be taken seriously by Gambians. In that case, first, it needs to go back to the drawing board and define the agenda. Then communicate the agenda to Gambians and decide who governs them in a free and fair election. Unfortunately, the present opposition style of chasing shadows leaving the substance behind has played to the incumbent’s advantage.
Either the opposition steps up the game by addressing issues, not personalities, or forget the Presidential Elections. As long as the opposition continues to chase shadows, the incumbent would have an easy ride come on December 4, 2021.
In short, president Barrow’s reelection is a choice between Gambians freedom and good governance. The bulk of his administration is what some people see as social media’s threat to the country. Overall, Gambians have one primary concern: President Barrow has not talked sufficiently with them. The tide has changed; we are the voter Citizens. Our time has come, and the ball is now in the court of aspirant/candidate Adama Barrow – talk to us, convince us of what you have been doing with the power we gave you.
Fatoumatta: Finally, the Gambia should re-elect President Adama Barrow because of the present circumstances of tribal challenges. The president is working hard to contain and defeat. However, it would be morally wrong for Mr. Barrow to abandon the ship halfway down the sail without achieving the total achievement of his infrastructural projects. Therefore, we should rally around the president—the prevailing opinion in the Gambia and the Diaspora for President Barrow to the very end. Let us, therefore, renew his mandate on December 4, 2021. God bless the Gambia.