THE 3 YEARS DEBACLE; MORE OF A GAME OF THRONES. 

Bulli Sowe

THE 3 YEARS DEBACLE; MORE OF A GAME OF THRONES.
Adama Barrow then UDP presidential candidate and later Coalition flagbearer campaigned on the promise that he will serve for 3 years and relinquish power after which fresh election be conducted. The reason for coming up with such a fanciful number (3 years) remains a mystery to me. Even if the goal was to make the quintessential reforms that most people were yearning for, I believe it’s just not enough, not even the 5 years in a poor sub-saharan nation but that’s all open for another debate. My main problem here is the coalition leaders who knew very well we already have an established constitution with standing electoral laws(elections every five years) .As Cherno Baba once said “The three-year calculus was outside the frontiers of the constitution” which clearly stipulates that an elected president will serve for a period of five years. What’s so unique about this number 3 that the 5 can’t accomplish?
Anyway now coming back to the debate whether Barrow will continue his mandate or not, we have to look at the legal aspect of the whole issue–that is; his constitutional mandate is 5 years.That’s indisputable. Forget about the number 3 fairy tale. We will get to that later.
Let’s go back in time a little bit on how and why this 3 years debacle started and who are the first players involved and those that countered them.
It all started when most people started losing confidence in the Barrow administration and the direction in which it was going. For example the age limit saga while failing to made the much needed reforms, selective justice, frequent arrests of political activists,Barrow’s lackadaisical attitude towards multinational companies exploiting our resources, and failure to stand up against Senegal Macky( his friend) and playing as an underdog etc.. This is the genesis of this 3 years debacle.
But what’s funny is that the people who once defended Barrow after all the aforementioned are now changing tune and calling for his resignation because the wind has shifted in a different direction. We will discuss that later. Now how can we tell if most Gambians who voted Barrow into office really want to see him relinquish power after serving 3 years? We can’t tell unless in a referendum. But here we can’t have a referendum because of the indispensability of his mandate.
Unlike other countries where opinion polls are conducted to gauge people’s opinions on issues, in The Gambia we don’t have those credible and equipped institutions. We rely heavily on social media especially whatsapp and Facebook.sometimes the messages emanating from Facebook is partisan, bias, and fake. So we can’t tell exactly the reason behind their agitations, especially in a country where activism and journalism confused for one another.
We don’t have the yardstick to gauge people’s (the majority Gambians) opinion on what they think about the three years. All what I’ve seen is keyboard warriors( mostly diasporans and their alike) operating in the murky world of social media and the farmer in rural Gambia is totally disconnected from this debate. That’s not democratic.
Here we have to identify six groups of people–those who are proponents of the constitution( the constitutionalist) who believe that Barrow despite all what was discussed and agreed upon, still have the legitimacy to serve five years. Secondly we have the Conservatives who believed that Barrow should be honorable and act upon his promise. These group of people have no hidden agenda, they are just going by their Conservative values.
And then we have the “SELF-FISH ONES” who once supported Barrow because things were all rosy but when the table turn against them, they started changing tune. These are the one with an open political agenda.They are petty, greedy and Self-centered.These people are flipflops and deceitful as well.Don’t fall for their scam.They will betray you because their fight is not for the national interest.
There’s also the “UNFAIRLY TREATED” group.These people believe that since Barrow came to office they’ve not been fairly treated ranging from selective justice, selective appointments, selective harassment etc. They have a genuine reason to oppose Barrow and ask for his relinquish of power.All they want is to be treated with dignity and respect but it seems Barrow is not listening to them, so they’re now calling for him to step down after 3 years even though they were never privy to any agreement with Barrow.
There’s also the “BAD-BLOOD” group. This group no matter what they will never like Barrow. They just don’t like the man. They believe that he’s incompetent, clueless and foolish. They don’t have any ulterior motive against Barrow but they want to see him leave as soon as possible.
And fourthly there’s the “BARROW-PHOBIA” group. These people see Barrow as a threat to their political parties. Most of them believe Barrow if not stopped, will cause havoc to their parties by draining all their militants and bases.They also also have a genuine reason to oppose Barrow but no right to justify their demand for him to step down.
There’s also the “CAKE EATERS”. This people are ready to defend Barrow from ground to planet Mars because the longer Barrow stays in power the better life becomes for them as they will not want to remain unemployed.These are the insecured ones. The opposite to these cake eaters are the “TURNDOWN JOBSEEKERS”most of whom are in the diaspora.They started opposing Barrow the moment they realized they will have no share of the national cake.These ones are dangerous as they are hiding behind fake activism.I will never take them seriously. Give them a job and they will all be yours.
Now by looking at all these groups I believe 70%(majority) are not agitating in the name of National Interest.
I have the believe that Barrow is either being misled or not competent enough but that doesn’t meant his presidency isn’t legitimate. Sure it is and if you’re really an advocate of Rule of Law and respect for the constitution( as in the case of Halifa Sallah and the PDOIS), I believe there should be restrain on calling for a protest to demand his removal from office. I’m not against protest especially if for peaceful purpose but we can’t decide for everyone out there. There are folks who want to set this country ablaze and we should not allow our selfishness cloud our good conscience. Its high time we redefine and rethink PROTEST in Africa. Sudan is a very good example.Good citizens rise up to uproot a long standing dictator but today they’re considered the villain in all this struggle. What happened? The army took over power and now sees the same people who rose up and uprooted a dictator as their enemy.We can borrow some pages from countries like Sudan.
I believe president Barrow will not order the army to shoot his own people but it will be wiser if we all unite against him at the polls come 2021.Your vote is your voice.
The genuine opposition parties that have the country at heart should not allow this” 3 years jotna” which started in good faith but turn into a scam to divide them and end up giving Barrow the edge over them at the polls. Let’s work on strengthening our opposition bases, working on forming an alliance, and make the necessary adjustments needed and promote internal party democracy. This will surely pays dividends at the polls. But the worst thing we can do is to allow this foolish thing called” 3 years jotna”distract, divide and disrupt the country’s political climate.

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