Mamos Media

Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: When President Adama Barrow assumed office on January 19, 2017, most Gambians saw him as the miracle man. Adama Barrow was blasphemous and sarcastically referred to as the holy Prophet Moses, a savior. The latter led the Israeli out of slavery in Egypt and brought them to the edge of the promised land. Indeed, President Barrow and his coalition partners in a democratic fashion, the irony of the dismantling of twenty-two years of Yahya Jammeh’s evil dictatorship. Adama Barrow was also compared to Queen Esther, the Messiah. The savior was divinely ordained to save her people from genocide. Thus, president Barrow and his coalition government help straighten and reposition the Gambia firmly back into the exemplary tradition of good neighborliness on global affairs and sort out the Gambia’s unquestionable integrity with the force of his integrity and those of his coalition partner’s unquestionable integrity, moral and governmental crisis.

Mass hypnotism brought President Adama Barrow to power because, as we have seen, the country was facing a serious major social, political and economic crisis. However, after the collapse of the high-stakes coalition agreement, Barrow sidelined and removed some top coalition members in his cabinet and purged certain senior military and diplomats in his government. It dealt tremendous blows to the coalition member’s morale, leading to the paralysis of the coalition transition agenda.

Fatoumatta: I am seriously thinking about some Gambian voters’ mindset with the divine grace of having one of their political family members of the United Democratic Party become the president of The Gambia. It also raised posers about whether the nation has been this divided since the collapse of the coalition and the civil war started between President Barrow, his political Godfather Mr. Abubucarr Ousainou Darboe leader of the United Democratic Party, and a few senior 2016 coalition partners. It is so sad to think that the same Adam Barrow who had a pan-Gambian endorsement as the 2016 coalition presidential candidate ousted former Gambian strongman president Yahya Jammeh with tacit approval from his political family, the United Democratic Party, his political Godfather, some of his senior opposition coalition partners.

Shockingly, President Barrow’s Diaspora supporters and some tafyengal strugglers during his campaign also struggled to persuade the rest of the Gambian population to reject President Barrow and his government barely two years in office to relinquish power in pursuant of the contentious and controversial “Laahido,” the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement entered into among coalition partners. However, President Barrow’s insistence on obedience to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and calling for the supremacy of the Constitution over moral obligations instead of serving his full five-year mandate.

Fatoumatta: President Barrow behaved as if he did not know or care about some of his people’s utter cluelessness. Nevertheless, of course, they suspect he knows, but his modesty is perhaps his hubris. He cares less about being blackmailed or maligned because he thinks he has a legitimate power to govern and embark on institutional reforms and good governance. The building of mega-projects and rural and urban infrastructural developments is part of significant election campaign promises and boasting his second term reelection. So Barrow projects a vision, an image, a personality, and power optics in contrast to former Yahya Jammeh’s autocratic rule.

What could have happened? Could the problem be because the Adam Barrow presidency has been truly ineffectual inputting actions into the artificial pledges to the people when he sought their mandate five years ago? His supporters would readily answer this question by pointing at physical developments across the country. Furthermore, can anyone see the list and know that they are indeed on the ground. Adama Barrow, too, should be worried why almost everyone in his political clan loyal to his

Godfather is decidedly against whatever he stands for. Adama Barrow should ask fundamental questions from people outside his circle of friends and acolytes. He should find out why his estranged Godfather’s loyalists and supporters who put their everything into his ascendancy are now openly opposed to his second term or are at best evasive or reluctant about it. Barrow should find out why some Gambian Diaspora and some taf tengal strugglers and so-called activists who took him as the symbol against dictatorship and hegemony are almost against him. Barrow should further ask questions about what is polarizing, even his baptismal political family party he belonged to. He needs to find out and ask how to keep his political base intact for his second-term ambition on December 4, 2021.

In entering the presidential race for the first time, President Adama Barrow could not have expected he would become a phenomenon in our national politics. He has. This fact has crept up slowly on the nation. It is not easy to explain away his transformation, partly because it is complicated and somewhat because it would amount to trying to unravel the mysteries of human mood swings and how the wind of the dynamics of national politics blows. If there are political psychoanalysts, they have a big task here.

Fatoumatta: President Adama Barrow is a political surprise. Nothing in his character or business hints at becoming a man of the people, riding on the crest waves of populism where it matters most –among the poor, the dispossessed, the cheated, and the despairing. Adama is an ascetic and a rigid businessman. Populism is not his cup of tea. At least, until now that he finds himself the crowned head of a famous politician. He did not enter the race waving the banner of populism. Instead, he did so, waving his flag, accompanied by a formidable coalition as a serious-minded politician. He has offered nothing but his credentials as an incorruptible transitional and competent leader with the sole objective of fixing his badly broken country in the reform and healing process.

Fatoumatta: Usually, his sales pitch would be a no-no because we have been conditioned to expect and even demand largesse from politicians during electioneering campaigns, the only time they reach out to the people. It is no secret that there is a lack of mutual trust between the people and the politicians. It is quid pro quo: Give us money, get our votes. Furthermore, because Adama Barrow, being of spare flesh, cannot shake body, his campaign promises would be treated as airy nothings – full of sound but not the welcome sound the Dalasi makes in the pocket.

President Barrow has stood that conventional wisdom on its head. I hope for the good and the good of our country. The poor flock to him in a way we have not seen since, perhaps, as his predecessor Yahya Jammeh and the champion of championed their cause. The poor know he is neither rich nor poor and did not come into the race with a war chest bulging with dollars, pounds, and Dalasi. So, instead of asking him for money, Gambians chip in the little they have for his campaigns. As witness an older woman in the Diaspora who gave him her life’s saving of hundreds of dollars. As witness schoolboys and hundreds of the struggling poor who chipped in their proverbial widow’s mite.

A politician funded by the people; especially, the Gambian Diaspora community? Even more interesting is that hundreds of the young men and women who work in the Adama Barrow and coalition 2016 Campaign at national and international levels are volunteers and foot soldiers. They work for free because they believe, I suspect, not that the lack of money, but civism and patriotism should not debar anyone from their noble national pursuit. However, unfortunately, it does have the grating sound of aberration.

Fatoumatta: Barrow and his coalition partners do not rent crowds at their campaign rallies. The people flock there at their own expense. It must be a big surprise that ordinary people see the genuine and honest leader they crave in him. I keep hearing something like this: “I trust him because he is honest. He had the chance to feather his own nest, but he did not. He is the only politician who is genuinely not offended by the brazen theft of our public coffers. I believe he is the only one who has what it takes to stop the rot and rescue our nation”. We are drowning.
However, if you look at it, Adama Barrow led an authentic political movement of ordinary people for the familiar people. His transformation is telling evidence that victimhood could be the road to heroism. Luck, therefore, played a significant part in his first elections. Part of his luck was that the coalition 2016 moguls made the total gain of making Adama Barrow a Messiah, the issue in its presidential campaigns. While the opposition’s foul mouths went after him this way in every sleazy way, questioned his qualification, even literacy, Adam Barrow and the coalition team concentrated on selling their governance agenda to the various economic and demographic groups in the country and the Diaspora community. There was no sordid desperation against Adam Barrow and his coalition partners despite the power of the incumbency in the current era-the Presidential regime of Yahya Jammeh.

Fatoumatta: There is so much division in the land, and Adama Barrow should be worried, except he prays to be the last president of the Gambia before 2021. The battle cries are too loud not to be audible. So, what is the problem? Is Barrow the problem?

leave a reply