The ouster of one of most brutal and longest -serving African dictators, by a coalition of opposition parties through democratic means, has been universally hailed as the dawn of a new nation.
My position is based on the glaring fact that the coalition is composed of political parties who have legitimate expectations of being handed plum jobs in the new administration. And granted the fact that Barrow is stepping down after a 3-year transition period, this is a recipe for future electoral catastrophe in the event of a Jammeh comeback.
With this arrangement, I can say with a substantial degree of certainty that the Barrow government is gonna be derailed by internecine jockeying for power and influence. This constitutes a cocktail for disaster. Yahya Jammeh has categorically stated that he is going to remain loyal to his party which implies that he is not above an attempt at return in future elections, however improbable it may sound.
First off, Dr. Isatou Touray will legitimately expect to follow in the footsteps of former Vice President, Dr Isatou Njie Saidy, as deputy to Adama Barrow. It’s not entirely inconceivable that at the conclusion of three years of transition she might set her eyes on the presidency with her feminist leanings and potential ambition to shatter the glass ceiling as has been done by Elaine Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia. She is a very strong character whom I do not expect to keep her burning ambitions at bay in the interest of the coalition government in anticipation of her future independent run for the top job.
Moreover, we cannot safely assume at this material time that lawyer Darboe will not want to see a longtime dream of becoming Gambian president actualized at the end of the transition period with a possible constitutional amendment allowing him to do so. If so, how will he look upon the ascendancy of Isatou Touray in a nascent Barrow government? A little dose of reality is in order of here: Barrow is the president by title but the major decisions are gonna be made by lawyer Darboe with possible stiff competition from Halifa. This is likely to turn the coalition of the wiling that toppled Jammeh to a coalition of the rich comedy and intrigue.
The leader of PDOIS , Halifa Sallah , with his work ethic and reputation for honesty should be a veritable asset to the coalition. However, with his loyalty to PDOIS and its band of indoctrinated socialist supporters, he is most likely to make a stab at the presidency on his own at the end of the transition. There is probable cause to believe he too will use his position in the Barrow government as a launching pad to the presidency. Halifa is very articulate and has a reputation for rigidity and making cold calculations which is bound to put him on collision course with Lawyer Darboe.
Hamat Bah, NRP leader, is a talentless and clueless politician with little to offer than bombast and comedy. With a CV that includes serving as entertainment manager in a local hotel and alleged mismanagement of millions entrusted to him by Nigerian investors, Hamat Bah is known for inconsistency.
As a journalist in The Gambia, Hamat Bah had made false statements to me on record so numerous I stopped interviewing him for his stinging dearth of seriousness. He cannot be trusted to run a ministry with the required honesty and competence. And what’s more, he is likely to try to capitalize on Fula support to take the State House in the future elections.
GMC leader, Mai Fatty, could be useful to new Gambia with his mild intellectual fortitude and experience as a lawyer. And what’s more, he may not be averse to dissolving his party due to his Mandingo/Jahanka provenances as well as prior successful collaboration with Darboe.
Henry Gomez, GPDP leader, has proven to be malleable and open to political mergers in the past. He holds vast potential as vote-getter among minority manjago and Christian population. He doesn’t seem to carry much risk of wanting to splinter from the coalition if he is kept sweet with a good position.
The coalition must tear up and burn its prior agreement which requires Barrow to stand down after the transition, effectively allowing him to contest presidential polls. The coalition must die to be born again. For because a political entity that is not busy being born is busy dying.
Written By Sainey Darboe
Sainey Darboe is a US-based Gambian journalist and former editor-chief of Standard newspaper.