President Adama Barrow admitted that promises made while seeking office and the realities of ruling an impoverished nation differ, amid concerns that the political novice is morphing into a strongman and coagulating to perpetuate himself in power.
“If you are campaigning, you say all sort of things but if you get into office, you face a different reality,” he said. “Campaign promises should not be used as a yardstick to pass judgment on politicians.”
But Barrow said he is not hinting a second term run. He, however, insisted a one-term presidency may not be enough to resolve Gambia’s decades-long crisis – mostly the economy and energy. It was first agreed by the coalition that brought him to power for him to serve a three-year transitional period, but there are back room talks ongoing for him to serve five-years and a possible second mandate.
“I never thought that The Gambia had less than one-month import cover. I never thought that The Gambia is looted to that level. Even the crime rate, I never thought it is to that level but when you get into office, you face reality,” he said.
“But one thing is certain, we want to build a strong foundation for the country. We want that to be part of our legacy so that others who would come after us would not feel the same as we are today.”
Although the price of the staple food, rice been lowered, Gambians are getting uneasy about the prices of goods and services, mostly food items. Barrow’s government waived duties and taxes on rice. The government is, nonetheless, struggling to have the prices of other commodities axed.
Mr. Barrow launched a development program critical to his campaign promises. He has also set up an inquiry into the corrupt practice of his predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of ransacking the country’s treasury and fleeing with at least $50 million.