President Barrow’s public announcement he is a UDP President and that the UDP should have no cause to nominate a new presidential candidate against him sounds rather incomprehensible to understand.
IEC did you hear that? Are your hands tied or don’t you remember that in the manifesto presented by the Coalition flag-bearer it did spell out that he represents a coalition that if they emerge victorious, he will serve a three year transitional period.
As we rewind the tape, Mr. Barrow’s statement at State House was contrary to the understanding of the Gambian voters on the Coalition agreement reached in 2016?
Of course, depending on the wording of the Coalition agreement, it may be possible for Mr. Barrow to run under a political party separate from (e.g., a new party of his own or otherwise) any of the parties that formed the Coalition, but I doubt if any of the Partners would have signed up to that.
In any case, now that Barrow may have lost the support of the sacked Coalition Partners and there now seems an apparent tension between him and Mr. Darboe (who wasn’t at the first meeting, but may be at the upcoming one; by the way do not be surprised if they fail to reach an agreement because Mr. Darboe seems to prefer taking the win all position in a negotiation), it will be interesting to know what outcome this meeting will produce.
Assuming that the planned Coalition Partners’ meeting to discuss the status of the Coalition and the 3-year transition period goes ahead and the Partners fail to reach an agreement; it would be important for the Partners to consider referring the matter to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and or consider asking the public in a referendum. In fact, is it unreasonable for the IEC to react to Mr. Barrow’s statement and demand an explanation from him for publicly stating that he is a UDP President?
It can be argued that Mr. Barrow’s statement is not only a departure from the Coalition agreement, but also deceitful to the electorate, i.e., he may have broken the Coalition agreement on which he contested the elections and therefore, the election rules.
If this notion is fanciful or lacks merit at the moment, I do not think it will be unreasonable to consider including something in the rule book (e.g., the Constitution – the CRC may perhaps need to take note) that will
1) prevent a Coalition President/any President from deviating from an agreed term limit and
2) ensure that the terms of any (Coalition) agreement are legally binding: that an individual who agrees to resign from their Party and lead as a Coalition President on the understanding that s/he shall not be permitted to contest in the next elections, but shall step down after the agreed term limit; that s/he is not permitted to form a party, re-join their former party or join any existing party during their term in office.
I believe that such a provision may prevent a President from departing from an agreement and or making the kind of untrustworthy statements we have heard recently.