Sidi Sanneh is right in his today`s facebook update (analysis) on the current situation in The Gambia.
Sidi Sanneh wrote:
Dear Mr. President,
I will tell you what your supporters are afraid to tell you. You are losing support and the goodwill of Coalition supporters. What should be equally, if not most worrying to you, among this group, is a large number who consider themselves UDP supporters.
Remember, you never won the diehard APRC and GDC supporters to your side, even at this point. You lost PDDOIS during the impasse and before you constituted your cabinet.
That leaves PPP, NRP and GPDP, GMC and Independent candidate of one. To be fair to Dr. Touray, GPDP and GMC are also parties of one. It is, therefore, safe to say, conservatively, that you can discount 50% of electorate, in spite of winning a few to the UDP with either a promise of a job or of them hoping for one.
What a precarious position to be in, as a governing coalition, at such an early stage of the transition. Why aren’t your handlers and political strategists standing on their heads to say things aren’t going right for neither you, as a leader, nor the Coalition, as a political entity.
Confidence in your government, in your person and some members of your cabinet, is fast eroding among donors because of the perceived inactivity of your government and the type of company you keep. Believe me. I know.
I hope you will start asserting strong leadership presence, and fast, while there is still time to change direction. While at it, clean up the act of your government.
With very best wishes
Barrow does not appear to be in control of the situation and no one actually appears to be in control. This is why Barrow is losing the support base of the broad Coalition supporters. Barrow has not stuck to the Coalition agenda, proposals and agreements. He is also not implementing the Coalition Manifesto, which the people relied on to vote for the Coalition.
It is apparent that Barrow has succumbed to the wishes of his former allies and close aids, the Lawyer Darboe’s et al who has stated in no uncertain terms that they are not interested in the coalition agenda and would do everything to dismantle the agreement.
That should have been the wakeup call for Barrow but he never seemed to get it.
To make matters clear, Barrow did not lose the PDOIS during the impasse but rather almost immediately after the impasse, when the struggle for positions became apparent to all. The PDOIS in my opinion did not want to be part of such squabbles and decided not to partake in the Cabinet.
PDOIS did not also want to take part in the Cabinet because the UDP leader was not ready to sign the MOU circumscribing the method and programmes of the coalition. Because of the lack of an MOU and the lack of a road map on how to run the country, problems emerged early relating to even how cabinet ministers were to be selected.
If the MOU were to be followed to the letter, cabinet ministers would have been selected on the basis of merit and law, rather than just being a party leader or a staunch supporter or member of one Coalition party or the other.
I don’t want to start becoming a prophet of doom, but all signs are there for us to see and even ordinary citizens are now seeing and complaining about the lack of progress to enhance their livelihoods by the government.
National Assembly Members have also alluded to the fact that the Barrow government should come up with a clear cut programme and alternative budget that would suit their manner of government rather than relying on the programmes and budget of the former regime.
The people with clear minds did not seem to see any difference between the Jammeh regime when it comes to handling the economy and bettering the living conditions of the average citizen. It’s like stepping your feet in the old shoes of your predecessor and walking in the same style.
In my view, Barrow lacks any understanding regarding how to run a country either economically or politically and sincere helpers who were doing everything to make sure things go in the right direction have been pushed away by those who are mainly interested in their personal welfare because of their lack of seriousness.
The news in town right now, which is overshadowed by the Kanilai incident is that, the UDP camp is peddling the information that Barrow has given sugar to their party to distribute among their members across the country.
We all know that Jammeh too used to give sugar to his supporters across the country with the hope that he would secure their continued loyalty. Where is that sugar from?
The question raised by many people especially in the country-side is, why is it that Barrow who we all put to power has now highhandedly decided to serve only the UDP and left the rest of the population?
Giving thousands of bags of sugar to one party and telling other parties to collect 10 bags or so has not shown any semblance of fairness by a coalition leader. Such gifts to a president meant for poor Muslims should have been given to mosques to distribute among the needy.
That would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the poor and marginalized people to feel part of society. One could understand a party that wants to take a center stage in the coalition because of the desire to fully take over the reins of power in the next elections.
However, it will be difficult for people to understand a Coalition leader who should have stayed neutral and bring about reforms in all situations, build institutions, engage in transitional justice and establish truth and reconciliation commission for the future stability of the country is seen to be openly biased towards fellow Coalition partners as if there were no agreements.
The Kanilai incident is a clear reminder of the April 10th and 11th incidents. One would have thought that this transitional government, which is now usurped by the UDP would have taken a different route in resolving such crisis.
The UDP leaders have taken their case to the Supreme Court to have interpretation on the charges made against them during their trial and for the court to make a declaration that demonstrations are not illegal.
Now the party that took center stage in running a democratic country with promise to respect human rights and rule of law has now been seen to have committed the same blunder as the one they’ve castigated for doing same to them.
Sidi is right, how will the Gambians and the international community see President Barrow’s administration now that his security forces are involved in killing a young and defenceless youth and maiming 5 others who are simply marching to express their frustrations? Who gave the order?
It begs the question whether such a government has the foresight or is capable of carrying out a truth and reconciliation process to achieve justice and stability for an entire country.