By Edrissa Jalllow, @EdrissaJallow10
President Adama Barrow has appointed Mr Muhammad B. S. Jallow on Friday 24th February 2023 as the Vice President replacing late former Vice President Alieu Badara Joof who died on Wednesday 18th January 2023 in New Delhi, India after a brief illness.
The death of the former Vice President shocked the country bringing many to tears during a state funeral. Many citizens were convinced that the late Vice President Joof could help President Barrow turn things around, however, his term was cut short unexpectedly. On the same day the Vice President died, President Barrow declared one week of national mourning in his honour.
Before the announcement, social media was awash with rumours that Hon Seedy SK Njie the current Deputy Speaker could be appointed as the Vice President. However, just over a month after the unfortunate passing State House has now announced that “President Adama Barrow has appointed Mr Muhammad B. S. Jallow as Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia with effect from 24th February 2023”.
According to the press release, Mr Jallow is “an experienced Civil Servant, [who] served in different capacities, from an unqualified teacher to Permanent Secretary in various Ministries”.
The letter highlighted that he “rose to the position of Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, a position he held until his statutory retirement in 2020. Mr Jallow also worked at the Senegalo -Gambia Secretariat as Deputy Executive Secretary representing The Gambia”.
Retired in 2020 as a Head of Civil Service, Mr Jallow is the 5th Vice President that President Barrow has appointed since defeating President Jammeh in the historic December 2016 Presidential elections. The first Vice President was Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang which took a long time before her appointment was confirmed. She was eventually succeeded by United Democratic Party (UDP) Leader Ousainou Darboe who fell of with President Adama Barrow after which he formed the National People’s Party (NPP) and won his second term in office. Still, in his first term, President Barrow appointed Dr Isatou Touray after Ousainou Darboe and she was eventually succeeded by the late Alieu Badara Joof.
Vice President will not Replace President Barrow says Former Information Minister
President Barrow’s former Minister of Information Damba Ali Jawo reacted to President Barrow’s latest appointment on social media. According to the veteran media practitioner “President Adama Barrow seems to have made good his promise to never again appoint anyone as Vice President who would want to replace him as president”.
This quote appears to be in reference to President Barrow’s continued insistence that his Vice President shouldn’t be looking to secure his position. The seasoned technocrat highlighted that “Muhammed would never harbour such an ambition. He is a technocrat who has never shown any interest in politics, let alone want to become president”.
According to Mr Jawo, the former retired Head of Civil Service “being a non-politician and someone who spent all his working life in the civil service, he may not likely take any initiative on his own but instead would only carry out executive orders given to him by President Barrow”. In his view “that is certainly not going to do much good to the country as well as the Barrow administration, which presently needs some serious reinvigoration”.
Mr Jawo was left dumbfounded by President Barrow’s decision not to choose a woman as his Vice President. The former Cabinet Minister found it “quite hard to understand why he has once again bypassed the women, who not only form more than 50 per cent of the population, but they are also 56 per cent of those registered to vote,” he argued.
According to Mr Jawo, “it appears that he has not only taken them for granted but he has shown his government’s gender insensitivity. That is quite evident in most of his appointments in government agencies and institutions”. Citing one example to back his claim he highlighted that “the Public Service Commission (PSC), which for the very first time since independence, seems to comprise only men”. In his view this projects the view that “women do not matter in such an important public institution”.