President Adama Barrow arrived from neighboring Senegal with a pageantry welcome but is now facing serious questions about cabinet appointments.
Barrow administration’s failure to name cabinet picks made his transition look rather chaotic, raising suspicions of a deep divide in the coalition’s leadership.
Coalition Spokesperson Halifa Sallah told reporters in Banjul that only 11 appointments have been confirmed by a vetting committee out of 18.
That has left critical parts of the government ‘dangerously short-handed,’ critics, who want the government to release names of nominees before their swearing-in said.
The cabinet nominees are expected to be sworn-in by noon on Wednesday as Barrow’s team scramble to fill key administration posts. Some of the gaps in The State House will be filled by former Jammeh staffers, who met with Barrow on Monday.
Barrow has announced he will not be retaining any of the Jammeh’s cabinet ministers, some of whom have already fled the country but keeping most in senior civil service positions to ensure “continuity of government.”
The furious final cabinet announcement seems to be more of an avoidance strategy after the nomination of VP Fatoumata Tambajang sparked an age restriction violation debate, putting the legality of her appointment in question.
Tambajang’s appointment has been approved by vetting committee and may be sworn-in with the new ministers.
Pro-democracy campaigners seemed bothered by Mr. Sallah’s announcement that cabinet picks will not make their assets public until they assume office.
Mr. Barrow campaigned on a platform to shake Banjul and ensure transparency and build strong democratic institutions.
However, Mr. Barrow is the Captain of a ship whose passengers may be hard to work with and navigating in a sea of powerful figures in their own right.