President Adama Barrow is facing a backlash from critics, who say naming Fatoumata Tambajang as acting vice president just to bypass a constitutional restriction is undermining the rule of law.
Pro-democracy activists called the attempt to have Tambajang overseeing the vice presidency until constitutional reforms are made for her to be sworn-in as a “dangerous game and an unsettling political maneuvering” that could give rise to a Jammeh appointed Speaker of the House to become president in case of an emergency in the next two months.
“Barrow is better off appointing a vice president who can replace him in case of anything, until when Fatoumata Tambajang meets the requirements….We need a vice president appointed and sworn-in,” said Pa Samba Jow, Spokesperson for the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists.
Barrow has vowed to uphold the rule of law and used his swearing-in, and joint inauguration and independence speeches to say he will drain the Gambia of the practice of favoring political friends, a pledge he says he is still committed to.
Throughout his campaign, Barrow repeatedly returned to the theme of the “favoritism and nepotism” by Jammeh and described the former ruler as a “disaster and biggest abuser of our constitution.”
The controversy over the veep pick seems to be Barrow’s most difficult governance challenge yet. Others say the law is discriminatory but criticism towards his administration on the matter is getting stronger.