Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has been called upon by a senior Gambian attorney to appoint a vice president after a constitutional restriction blocked the swearing-in of his veep pick.
Mr. Barrow’s choice for vice president, Fatoumata Tambajang was unable to take office due to a discriminatory upper age limit in the constitution that prevents senior citizens from taking up the job.
“Presently, there is no vice president in The Gambia to answer to the National Assembly as required by the constitution. The president should now appoint a vice president without delay,” said Awa Sisay Sabally.
Gambian presidential hopefuls, just like many across Africa do not have running mates but the trend to have a VP choice announced during presidential campaigns is gaining momentum in the continent.
Tambajang is currently overseeing the vice presidency and pro-democracy campaigners are accusing Barrow of favoritism after they forced him to decline signing the amendment that could have seen Tambajang being sworn-in.
“He [Barrow] is keeping the VP for Fatoumata Tambajang as if we do not have other qualified citizens,” they say.
Tambajang has already been sworn-in as Minister for Women’s Affairs, a position that traditionally comes with the VP’s job, and has her office in The State House, the official seat of the government.
A former health minister, Tambajang has been credited for leading mediation efforts that united the deeply divided opposition last year to defeat longtime self-serving ruler, Yahya Jammeh.