BY: Flex Dan
Elected and Selected Officials and honoring the 3 Year Agreement
Currently, in The Gambia, the President is the commander in Chief and an elected representative of the people every 5 years. If he resigns then the Vice President will take over as acting President for the remainder of the 5-year term when fresh elections will be ushered in. If the Vice President were to be incapacitated for any reason then the Speaker of the House will assume the role of acting President for the remainder of the 5-year term.
The only leader who has derived the authority to rule according to the Gambian Constitution is actually the President because authority to rule the Gambia can only be derived from the people according to the first provision of the constitution, subsection 2 “The Sovereignty of The Gambia resides in the people of The Gambia from whom all organs of Government derive their authority and in whose name and for whose welfare and prosperity the powers of government are to be exercised in accordance with this Constitution.”
Going by this and reviewing all the three positions above only the elected President satisfies this Constitutional provision of deriving authority to rule. The position of the Vice President and Speaker of the house are all unelected officials which I call selected members.
Looking at other countries, Liberia’s recent elections saw current President George Weah vie for his Presidential campaign with his running mate advertised. Thereby the Liberian people have directly voted for their President and Vice President. This is now standard practice is most evolved elections as observed in the US and other recent elections.
The position of the Speaker of the House is another which requires consideration because they can also become the acting President. Two ways to deal with this is inserting a reasonable time period within which another election can be conducted such as either 90 days or 60 days whichever the House of Representatives deems as most reasonable to run another legitimate election. The second means of dealing with that is to ensure that the Speaker of The House can only be an elected official.
1. Ensure VP is advertised with the President in future Presidential campaigns
2. Ensure that there is a time limit for any acting President
3. Ensure that the Speaker of the House can only be an elected member.
If this was to happen then President Adama Barrow will be able to honor his 3-year agreement and usher in elections within 90 or 60 days after stepping down.