Gambia’s President Adama Barrow is being accused of acting like an authoritarian ruler mimicking ousted dictator, Yahya Jammeh.
Barrow is facing criticism from the local union of attorneys for making several changes using executive orders.
The Gambia Bar Association is frowning upon a name change of the country’s feared intelligence agency and Barrow’s failure to appoint a vice president.
“This government has happily slipped into the shoes of the later (Jammeh’s). Our liberators are now eerily mimicking the familiar acts of the former,” said Yassin Senghore, Vice President of the Bar Association.
“The trend is disturbing and it is escalating. This Government must recognize that it leads, subject always to the good graces of The Gambian people.”
According to a statement, Barrow use of presidential decrees to change the name of the National Intelligence Agency to State Intelligence and his seeking of having the constitution amended for Fatoumata Tambajang to hold the vice presidency is a reminder of Jammeh’s abuse of power.
The SIS continues to have the same operatives from the NIA, most implicated in human rights abuses.
A report was sent to Barrow in June warning him that reforms in the SIS are meaningless unless its agents are all vetted.
“The experience of the last 22 years have confirmed that if illegal and wrongful actions and decisions by the government remain unchecked, its officials will become emboldened to continue to flout law and procedure,” Senghore said.
Former President Jammeh ruled the country with an iron fist using executive directives entrench himself in power and have absolute control.
Barrow defeated Jammeh in the elections last year, a shocking defeat that has sent him into exile in the Central African nation of Equatorial Guinea.