The Gambian leader Adama Barrow has reacted to a comment by his coalition ally, Halifa Sallah, who reportedly told supporters in London that the country is yet to have a system change after the defeat of the autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh.
Barrow was back by seven opposition parties, including Sallah’s PDOIS party and an independent candidate in an election that saw him defeating Yahya Jammeh.
Sallah had rejected a job offer from Mr. Barrow. He had served the Chair of the Coalition, its spokesperson during the impasse and shortly as Barrow’s Senior Advisor on Governance.
“He rejected to take a position that would give him the responsibility to get the nation out of the situation in which it relies on others to give it charity. It is easier for Hon. Sallah to criticize than take responsibility where he can be accountable to the people,” said Barrow’s spokesperson, Amie Bojang-Sissoho.
Sallah at the time said he is declining to take a job from which he can be fired after the parties that make up the coalition government could not agree on a tactical alliance plan ahead of April’s parliamentary polls.
This is the first response that comes from the presidency as regards to criticisms directed at the government by Sallah, who is currently a National Assembly Member for Serrekunda.
President Barrow is regarded a quiet and soft-spoken leader. Many have called on the political novice to take a stronger stand in taking control of the government.
Barrow has vowed not to interfere with the work of civil servants and pledged judicial and legislative independence, a deviation from his predecessor’s policies.
Sallah and MPs from the PDOIS have declined to use official vehicles given to National Assembly Members by the Barrow government, questioning the source of the vehicles.
The Barrow administration said the vehicles, at least 60 of them were donated by a supporter of the president, who in turn handed them over to Parliament and other government institutions.
The vehicles are now the center of anti-corruption debate among pundits and supporters of especially Sallah and the Barrow, mainly from the UDP party.
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting by Mustapha Darboe)