In his meeting with local authorities, President Adama Barrow used the pulpit to paint a misleadingly dangerous and incendiary picture of the efforts of a group of citizens who tasked themselves of monitoring the ongoing voter registration exercise. Describing them as thugs, the diatribe reminded me of how former President Trump labeled Black Lives Matter protesters when he was setting the stage for a violent crack down in Washington DC just so he could walk down for a photo-op in front of a Church. Difference, though, is that those Barrow referred to as thugs are actually law abiding citizens observing and recording an important process that will decide the fate of our country. Barrow’s ill-advised comments come on the heel of violent and cowardly attacks on UDP registration observers by some wayward Youths of Kanilai who are still bitter about the outcome of the last Presidential election nearly 5 years ago.
From every indication, President Barrow is paranoid, uncomfortable and angry. The president is facing the increasingly apparent prospect of defeat and humiliation at the polls on account of his irreconcilable failures in governance. The nervousness and bitterness may become more pronounced as we get closer to the election and as the electoral shock becomes inevitable. However, none of these psychological manifestations excuses or sanitizes the behavior of a sitting President especially when his remarks or conducts incite violence on his political opponents.
For several months, our country has been gripped by wave of banditry, petty crimes and other violent acts of robberies.This is compounded by a government so immersed in dysfunction and a President who has lost total control and focus. We have read extensive investigative reports of corruption, embezzlement and other nefarious activities involving public servants and institutions under his stewardship. Yet, President Barrow was never animated and forceful in addressing these vices as we have witnessed him do in condemning his political rivals – a clear distinction of where his priorities lie.
Accordingly, I would like to remind President Barrow of his sworn responsibilities as the President of the Republic of the Gambia until the very last minute of his term. He should be presidential in his conducts and his actions and words should be guided by the Constitution and laws of the Gambia with emphasis on peace, security and protection of every Gambian and non Gambians resident in the Gambia. Being the highest office of the land, the Presidency should be above and beyond petty politics and division.