Monday, February 6

E.U getting impatient with Adama Barrow’s gov’t, asks that he push for the new Constitution

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The European Union’s Commission Vice-President in charge of coordinating the external action of E.U is not happy with the regime of President Adama Barrow as it slows the pace of the reforms Barrow pledged to implement. In an unusual diplomatic tone, Josep Borrell has hinted that The Gambia is increasingly alienating the partners who stood alongside Gambians during the period of embers kindled by Yahya Jammeh before his departure into exile.

The European Union calls upon the Government to take the lead in building the necessary national consensus around the future direction of the democratic transition, with a new Constitution at its core“, Joseph Borell said in a statement issued to the media by the E.U lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy together with the body’s press Officer for International Cooperation and Development.

The European Union top level Commissioner asks that President Adama Barrow and his government consider fast tracking the adoption of the new Constitution as a prerequisite to peaceful free and fair elections in 2021. “Over the last months, it (EU) has observed with growing concern a marked slowdown in the pace of the reform process and in particular, noted the recent important setback with the rejection of the draft new Constitution. It is key for the 2021 Presidential elections to take place on the basis of a new social contract” Joseph Borell said in his statement.

He also hinted that President Barrow and his government can even go faster with nagging legislative reforms Gambians agreed to see quickly implemented as early as in 2017. “It therefore remains important to lay the foundations for the follow-up of these processes. Moreover, taking forward other significant reforms, such as the revision of the Public Order Law, media and access to information laws prior to the 2021 Presidential elections, requires decisive Government action“.

According to the European diplomat, a piecemeal approach to the reform agenda is all what The Gambia doesn’t need as the adoption of the new Constitution is key to consolidating already ongoing processes “linked to other pillars of the democratic transition, in particular the transitional justice process with the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), as well as the Security Sector Reform (SSR). It therefore remains important to lay the foundations for the follow-up of these processes“. Joseph Borell said in his statement.

Anticipating the reactions his statement could provoke in some quarters of the Barrow government, the European Union’s top official took the trouble of refreshing the memories of the “Gambian nationalists” bent on invoking national sovereignty. “The European Union has been at the forefront of the support to the democratic transition in The Gambia since 2017 and to the reforms aiming at entrenching democracy, human rights and the rule of law“.

To those hawks prone to asking non Gambians not to say a word on our internal matters, it is important to know that Jospeh Borell is the official in the European Commission ensuring that external financial instruments – like the 360 million euros that E.U gave to The Gambia since 2017 – are used strategically, contribute to the EU’s wider political aims and enhance Europe’s leadership and influence in the world.