Gambia: Coalition leaders to meet next week; will invite President Barrow on the Three Year Transition Agreement

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Reports reaching Gainako indicate that 2016 Coalition partners have called for a meeting of coalition partners next week to discuss about the status of the coalition and the transition period. The source speaking to Gainako said the three-year transition agreement by all parties appears to be in peril. The party leaders will invite President Barrow to this meeting and will express their feelings on the agreement that was signed by all participating parties.

Our source indicated that the purpose of the meeting is to follow up on the agreement that was signed by all parties including especially the  three-year transition and the independent candidate’s agreement to not contest in a subsequent election. This meeting is likely to be very contentious given the recent cabinet reshuffle and President Barrow’s pronouncement that he is a UDP member and therefore the de facto leader who should not be challenged at the upcoming UDP Congress.

President Barrow was heard in a recording telling United Democratic Party leaders from across the country during a meeting at the State House that he was the current president of the Gambia and was therefore the leader of the United Democratic Party. Barrow said if anybody want to contest the leadership of the United Democratic Party while he is sitting as President, that person is planning to betray him or ready to place a coup against him. The President also proudly said the number one, two and three leaders of the country are all members of the United Democratic Party. He Rhetorically asked what does the UDP party want if they occupy the Presidency, the Vice Presidency and the Speaker of the House?

In the wake of such pronouncements, many Gambians who insinuated that President Barrow’s cabinet reshuffle was meant to favor the UDP were vindicated.  It appears though the President’s move to appoint Mr. Darboe as Vice President was a political strategy to position himself for possible leadership of the United Democratic Party.

Gainako’s source when asked what the likely position of the Coalition partners on the transition is, the source said it is likely that party leaders will “align themselves with the five-year constitutional provision”. “The three-year transition was a gentleman’s agreement” the source added “but realistically the five-year constitutional provision makes more sense”. It is therefore more likely that there won’t be any contention about the three-year transition because most of the agenda items listed by the coalition are not nearly done the source opined. It is however obvious to many Gambians that President Barrow has a greater political ambition than his partners anticipated. It would be interesting to see if the coalition partners will sign off to the five-year constitutional term rather than the three year agreement. However President Barrow’s firing of at least four coalition partners would make such a meeting uncomfortable for the leaders. It is likely those removed from their cabinet positions without an explanation were politically sacrificed for Barrow’s political ambition.

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