Posted - 04 Dec 2018 : 13:25:23
ECOMIG is not to be used as an instrument of personal power
By Sidi Sanneh
Monday, December 3, 2018
President Adama Barrow has been known to commit unforced political errors with such frequency that even some of the egregious ones have been excused, normalized and ultimately attributed to his lack of requisite experience to lead.
Mr. Barrow came to be elected president through the accident of history. He was the presidential nominee of a coalition of seven political parties plus an independent candidate to contest the 2016 December presidential elections which he ended up winning, unexpectedly.
And when Jammeh, a dictator of 22 years standing threatened to nullify the election results and, ultimately refused to vacate State House, the international community stepped in to enforce the will of the Gambian people by despatching a contingent of ECOWAS mission in The Gambia - otherwise referred to as ECOMIG - with a specific and unambiguous mission of ensuring the security and protection of the Gambian population. Eventually, Jammeh was forced to step down and forced into exile allowing Barrow to return to The Gambia from Dakar where he sought sanctuary during the political impasse.
The initial mission was to restore democracy which was later extended to include helping the Barrow government initial reform measures. In a press interview held in Banjul on the occasion of last year's visit of Jean Claude Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission, to announce the extension of the ECOMIG mandate was quoted thus " I think the security situation has improved but if does not mean that the challenges are not there. And that is why the ECOMIG and the Gambian forces are here to ensure the safety of the population."
The United Nations Secretary General's representative in West Africa, Mr. Ibn Chambers who accompanied Mr. Brou on the mission revealed that in addition to regional security issues, their mission engaged the Gambian authorities on how the government plans to make good on the pledges made at the May 2018 Donors' Conference in Brussels.
Mr. Barrow's attention since he assumed the presidency in January 2017 has been focussed on how to perpetuate himself beyond the 3-year mandate imposed on him by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by members of the Coalition of 7 + 1 opposition political parties, in his capacity as president.
Barrow's thirst for power and his determination to retain it at all cost, including the risk of putting the entire security of the country in peril, has led him to focus more on political campaign antics than governing a country emerging from 22-years of one of Africa's longest and most brutal dictatorship; an experience that has weakened the country's institutions and has institutionalized a culture corruption that is well ingrained in the fabric of Gambian society.
The reforms promised, such as the civil service, state-owned enterprises and security sector - to name a few - have fallen victim of the deliberate and calculated decision of President Barrow to focus on his 're-election' bid at the expense of governing. The pledges Barrow made in Brussels on behalf of his government have also fallen victim because the policy frameworks, including the additional reform measures that will necessarily accompany the programs and projects proposals submitted during the Brussels Donors' Conference will fall short of expectations.
President Barrow's transgressions as a transitional president has reached such alarming proportions that we must stop and take stock of the political and security situation that threatens the peace and stability of a country. The Mission of the ECOMIG has not changed since it was last modified to include helping government reform its security forces.
Addressing a group of his supporters purportedly from the West Coast Region at State House over the weekend in mandinka, President Barrow boasted of being in full charge of the army, the police, the state intelligence agencies AND ECOMIG and therefore more powerful than Jammeh ever was.
To use Jammeh's name and system as reference, after the suffering his regime inflicted on a defenseless population, is repugnant and an inappropriate system to use as guidance. And mission and purpose of the state institutions that President Barrow cited i.e the army, police and intelligence agencies being the protection and their institutions is disquieting to see them projected as instruments of personal power.
Related Topic: Adama Barrow has NO POWER Over Gambians!
A clear concience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone