President elect Adama Barrow’s Transition Team must not deviate or flouter from the Memorandum of understanding (MOU) it signed for powering sharing government among the respective parties, which undoubtedly paved the way for the alliance’s recent electoral victory. The agreements contained in that document must be upheld to the letter. This is crucially imperative for the avoidance of possible Transitional power struggle crisis or breakaway.
Cabinet appointments should conform with the 1997, Constitution to avoid any violations. For example, anyone beyond the age of 65 years cannot assume the portfolio of Vice President, per the dictates of the constitution. The said provision can only be amended provided that the transitional government succeeds in capturing the majority of the seats in the upcoming National Assembly elections. The incoming government has no constitutional powers or mandate to effect such changes. Hence, the Jammeh tailor-made constitution that we all had issues with will prevail until the Transition had a firm grip of the state post Jammeh era.
The Transition Team also needs to revisit its three year timetable it agreed upon for the return of functional democracy in The Gambia. The three year timetable is in direct contravention of the current constitution. Again, it is never too late, for the Transition Team to report back to Gambians and admit that under the circumstances it is not legally feasible to execute the three years mandate it agreed upon on its MOU. The need to uphold the constitution and allow President elect Barrow to finish the five year mandate that Gambians elected him, is legally imperative. Mr. Barrow was not elected for three years mandate, but five years.
Let us revisit the MOU that the opposition parties signed. The MOU is an important component of the incoming administration. If wisely and intelligently employed, the current Cabinet deadlock facing the Transition could have been averted. Parties should have equal representation in the incoming administration without altering the letter and spirit of that MOU document.
It would have been prudent to seek legal advice prior to the three years Presidential mandate that the alliance agreed upon to avail its candidate if elected. Now it turns out that Barrow is the winner of the election. How does the alliance intends to reconcile this potential constitutional crisis?
To avoid an unbated Transitional Deadlock, the MOU must be respected. Cabinet positions should be shared among the parties that fought vigorously to dislodge Jammeh through the ballot box. Qualifications and competence of appointees should be the cornerstone of the selection and appointment process without political bias, or prejudice.
The Transition should also avoid the replica of the Jammeh regime, in which felons occupied high positions in government. People falsely jailed by Jammeh, should endeavor to expunge their conviction records before they should be allowed to serve. Laws are meant to be respected. We rest our case!
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai