Yesterday, President Adama Barrow restructured his team of ministers for the first time which sprung many unexpected surprises. The cabinet reshuffle have evoked more praise than critique. He also integrates a minister who served under former president Yahya Jammeh. While a lot is being said and written about the choices that Barrow has made, one needs to only read the different narratives going around to learn some important lessons from the entire exercise. Here is my take:
1. Leaders come and go; leadership positions stay
The writing on the wall couldn’t be clearer: as much as the government of Adama Barrow is trying to promote for loyalty and talent and demote for unruliness or blundering. UDP ministers were all maintain in cabinet and joined by other UDP members and as well as sympathizers to freshen things up. The causalities which include former VP has being alleged for pleading to keep people especially close family and associate in their position, sat on important government reports and hiring family members in positions. Omar Jallow alias OJ who is seen as a torn in the flesh for Barrow government has blundered on several occasion. The latest was the fertilizer saga. Demba Ali Jawo which I describe as no nonsense minister wrote damning letter to presidency for what he described as lack of consultation. He might fail the loyalty test but he described his sacking as not surprising. Saffie Lowe, the architect of the doctors’ strike has also blundered in the past. For Henry Gomez, he is a source of disgrace for Barrow government. He is not only incompetent but a jester and entertainer. He has also be involved in per diem saga. Hamat Bah has also blundered on several occasions but his loyalty rate is very high and he stayed putt.
2. Barrow to strengthen his grip onto power
It appears to be a political maneuver from the president and wishes to make it clear that it cannot be a business as usual.
3. Barrow may resign and pave way for his political God father
The show-stealer was unarguably the elevation of UDP leader to the coveted VP portfolio. This puts him in a position to succeed Barrow if he chooses to resign after 3 years. With multiple issues confronting our country, will Barrow rise to the occasion to fix the issues or will he throw the towel?
4. Gender equality gets a shot in the arm
There are now a total of two women ministers in cabinet which is a complete shift from the past. The donor agencies may make an eyebrows on this issue. The European Union in the past has advised President Barrow to have more women nominated parliamentarian after the parliamentary elections in order to have more women representation in politics. The women group would want to see a clearly an important milestone for gender equality and women empowerment in the country, the government needs to ensure that the symbolism surrounding the issue must translate to tangible progress.