Gambia’s President Adama Barrow will jumpstart his nationwide tour this week to assess the country’s immediate needs, his communication’s director, Amie Bojang-Sisohore said.
Barrow’s meet the people tour has been traditionally carried out by the past two presidents of the Gambia. It has, however, raised concerns with some political observers, who say it coincided with campaigns for parliamentary elections.
“This tour will also enable President Barrow, as coalition leader, to familiarize himself with the political situation in the run-up to the National Assembly election in April,” Bojang-Sisohore said.
Barrow was voted into office through a coalition and should forgo partisan politics to maintain unity in his administration. But Ms. Bojang-Sisohore said the tour is “constitutionally mandated.”
Gambia’s unity parties led by Barrow failed to secure a coalition agreement for parliamentary elections and efforts to have a tactical alliance failed; but a statement from Mr. Barrow’s office said he will be campaigning to have the people vote for coalition candidates.
“He will call on the electorate to vote for coalition candidates for change as to have a majority in the National Assembly. This will enable his government to implement its transition policies and programs to effect the change Gambia have voted for during the December 2016 presidential election,” it states.
The electoral commission chief, Alieu Mommar Njai said Tuesday that there were no coalition candidates registered by his commission. He warned those presenting themselves as coalition candidates that there nomination will be nullified if they campaign as coalition candidates.
It has put President Barrow’s tour into question as to who are these coalition candidates that he wants the people to vote for since every party is running on their own.
Government ministers and senior officials, mostly heads of political parties that formed the coalition are blaming one another for the political divide. Barrow has stirred away from having himself drowning in the sea of partisan politics that is quickly turning tribal.