COMMENTARY | WHY PRESIDENT BARROW’S DEFEAT IS A FOREGONE CONCLUSION
By Kadri Sanneh:
WHY PRESIDENT BARROW’S DEFEAT IS A FOREGONE CONCLUSION
The current debate about the probability of President Adama Barrow hanging around State House for up to 15 years will be a mute point one way or the other by the end of 2021. Social scientists agree that it’s not an easy enterprise to attempt predicting human behavior. Yet, the Sleepy President’s fate is as clear as daylight to even a political novice.
It won’t be a stretch to say that even President Adama Barrow is decidedly convinced, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn’t stand a chance in (let’s say) Mankamang Kunda of pulling out victory from the jaws of the United Democratic Party. Not even a casual observer of politics would arrive at a contrary conclusion.
The main problem is that Barrow has encapsulated himself with the type of buffer that will definitely be dismantled if he gets a serious whipping at the polls. His handlers are very much aware of the reality staring squarely at them, yet there’s very little room for this inner core to contemplate accepting the fait accompli now.
In other words, their being rests unequivocally on President Barrow’s success at self-perpetuation. Paradoxically, the more the President’s kitchen cabinet cooks schemes to entrench his administration, the more they expose him to the wrath of public opinion.
An inept, corrupt, and insecure inner circle is akin to a rotten egg, fine on the outside but stinky inside. The worst comes out when that egg is cracked for any reason. That day, for President Barrow and his cabal, is bound to come in 2021.
Besides who he leans on or surrounds himself with, the Accidental President is clearly a victim of The Gambia’s rapid political transformation since the defeat of Yahya Jammeh’s dictatorship.
The element of fear, which constituted a fundamental pillar of the status quo ante, is no longer a factor for much of the Gambian community. Jammeh’s regime used brute force to keep much of the population docile. The security apparatuses were used essentially as the leader’s personal property, doing his bidding regardless of legal parameters or any other inhibitors.
The intervention of regional military forces under the aegis of ECOWAS has however erased this element for the new commander-in-chief. No longer will the military and the police be used as agents of fear and active participants in the political process to maintain the balance in favor of the incumbent. Voter choice and participation can no longer be conditioned by the use of naked threats and the actual use of coercive force. These will significantly undermine the incumbent’s advantages and bolster the opposition’s chances of winning electoral victory.
Adama Barrow’s own victory in 2016 against a seemingly invincible incumbent has made it abundantly clear to the Gambian electorate that challengers can definitely defeat even a well-funded, ruthless, and organized officeholder. The implications of that outcome include the rekindling of hope amongst political contenders that they stand a chance of gaining victory. This in turn contributes to voters’ willingness to place their bets on various political actors to the chagrin of the incumbent.
Closely tied to these factors is the greater openness of the political system, with the attendant freedoms of expression and association as well as access to information. Citizens are now able to readily access salient information to analyze or process for themselves. People can share information and express opinions, even dissenting views, without fear of negative repercussions. Political association and partisan identification are now taken for granted. Even inadvertently displaying loyalty to an opposition grouping during much of the previous regime threatened ones survival or livelihood. With such a political evolution, it’s safe to say that very powerful tools have been taken from the chief executive and are being used to somewhat level the political playing field.
Key elements of the economic class who lack political conviction and are merely interested in forging and maintaining ties with the political class have also conveniently adapted their ways. Rather than hedging their bets solely on the incumbent, they can now extend their financial weight to more political contenders, insuring that the next power wielder is within their sphere. That means, unfortunately for President Barrow, he’s not the sole beneficiary of their financial largesse.
Finally, the widely held perception that President Barrow is lazy and inept, coupled with the multitude of unforced errors by his closest aides, have caused irreparable damage to his image and significantly eroded his potential support base. The mismanagement of The Gambia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and credible reports of corruption from various sources, including none other than a government minister, spell doom for President Barrow’s chances of self-perpetuation.
Barrow will go in 2021!
Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjur Online. Got an opinion article? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com