The continued absence of a vice president in President Adama Barrow’s cabinet dangerously incapacitates the National Security Council and puts at risk national security, a pro-democracy group, Democracy Watch Gambia says.
Gambia’s constitution requires that a National Security Council be established and the Vice President heads the council. The vacancy means the council is not constituted, just a few months after a civil war was averted.
“It also by default creates an unnecessary but avoidable fertile ground for the emergence of a Constitutional crisis akin to the bruising post-election impasse which requires urgent attention,” said DWG’s Pa Louis Sambou.
President Adama Barrow had traveled out of the Gambia twice since coming to power in January. It means the APRC-backed Speaker of the House, Abdoulie Bojang had been in charge of the nation if constitutional procedures have to be followed.
Barrow had been advised by Attorney General Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou, not to assent to a bill that wrongfully aimed to amend the constitution to remove the discriminatory upper age limit that barred Barrow’s pick for vice president, Fatoumata Tambajang from taking office.
Barrow found himself in a constitutional crisis after announcing Ms. Tambajang as his vice presidential nominee. Tambajang, who was cleared by a vetting committee is now overseeing the vice presidency but cannot be sworn-in until the constitution is amended.