President Adama Barrow is seen as a quiet and soft-spoken leader, unlike former President Yahya Jammeh, who easily goes into a tantrum whenever critics lash out.
Barrow has faced both criticism and praises over his handling of the Gambian state of affairs. But with increasing dissatisfaction over frequent power cuts, and high prices of goods and services, criticism towards his administration have gained drive.
The opposition has been banking on this to direct bitter remarks at the new leader, seen as a political newcomer and an accidental president, descriptions that Barrow brushes off.
However, a member of Barrow’s coalition government, Halifa Sallah has been very vocal with his criticism towards the Barrow administration. The quiet leader was forced to react to Sallah, who said the new government has not implemented system change.
According to Sallah, there has been regime change but the next fight is for a system change to happen. Sallah compared the workings of the Barrow administration to that of former President Yahya Jammeh.
But for Barrow, it is easier for Sallah to resort to criticism rather than take responsibility by becoming an advisor in his administration.
“This remark by Hon. Halifa Sallah insinuating that nothing has changed to improve the lives of the people and comparing this government to the former dictatorial regime is a distortion of facts,” said President Barrow.
“It is therefore important to take a good lens to capture those efforts and what has changed since “The Gambia is in the hands of its citizens” to see how the Coalition government is not ‘reminiscent of the APRC government days’.”
Barrow says Sallah assertion is unfair given the efforts that are already in place by his government with the support of Gambians to move away from the difficult era of the former regime.
Gambians were surprised that Barrow had such a response to criticism. The president is rarely heard from on petty matters and only addressed the nation in strong terms after opposition protests erupted in Foni.
Many have urged President Barrow to be more vocal and assert authority. Some say he is not in control of the government, demanding that he should stand up for himself.
Well, they may just have seen the first of Barrow proving that he is in control and while he may not be seen in the headlines like his predecessor, he would react and fight back if he is held against the wall.