A firebrand Gambian politician is attempting a comeback by backing President Adama Barrow to seek a controversial second mandate that may cause a political bushfire in the West African nation.
Lamin Waa Juwara, a former UDP strongman and the leader of dormant NDAM party said President Barrow should lead the country for a decade if he successful finishes his first term in office.
“Those who voted for Barrow know that for the presidency if you vote for anybody, it should be for five years. If Barrow chooses to leave, that would be a different matter but those who voted for Barrow elected him for five years,” Juawara told journalist Omar Wally.
“I think Barrow should be given another chance. He has done well and all we need now is for all of us to unite so that Barrow can succeed. He will succeed if Gambians unite. Now that we are falling apart, nobody knows if that is going to happen.”
The length of Barrow’s stay in power is already the crux of concerns that he is consolidating power to extend his rule. The opposition that backed the president agreed he would run the country as a transitional leader for three years.
But Mr. Barrow said even five years is not enough to stabilize the country, especially the economy, build strong institutions and return it to full normalcy.
Juwara’s political career took a turn for the worst of gutters when he left the UDP, formed his own party and later joined former dictator, Yahya Jammeh’s government.
He became Jammeh’s minister of local government and lands but not before Jammeh’s unsurprising decision to kill Juawara’s political career by dismissing him and jailing him for corruption and abuse of office.
But in a New Gambia, while new political newcomers are trying to make names for themselves claiming to have fought the dictatorship, oldies are also trying to reclaim their lost glory. Can Lamin Waa Juwara re-emerge stronger than ever from the shadows of Jammeh’s doom days?