Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has said five years may not be enough to normalize the country, further irking opponents who accused him of solidifying his base to extend his rule.
Barrow, 52, became the “Moses-like” leader that rescued the West African country from two-decades of repressive rule in the hands of former military-strongman, Yahya Jammeh. He won the December 2016 elections in a victory that shocked observers.
“I am not saying that I am going to run for a second, but I can say that even five years is not enough,” said Mr. Barrow. “Campaign promises should not be used as a yardstick to pass judgment on politicians.”
Jammeh’s government left the country treasury empty and the economy at a near-insolvency. The ex-leader is accused of ransacking the country’s reserves bank, stealing at least $50 million while fleeing to Equatorial Guinea.
Barrow said the state of affairs that he inherited cannot allow him to resolve the country’s critical situation in one-term, saying he “never knew that The Gambia under Jammeh was that bankrupt economically.”
Barrow’s political god-father and the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ousainou Darboe said his party will support whoever is chosen in the 2021 presidential polls but said they will not join a coalition. Barrow is a member of Darboe’s UDP party, which is now the country’s biggest party.
Barrow is seemingly supported by at least three other political party leaders in his government, including one that was recently fired from his cabinet. The so-called tactical alliance has denied that an agreement for Mr. Barrow to serve three years was signed, urging the leader to serve a full mandate as constitutionally required.