President Barrow is doomed! He returned home with shock and disbelief. President Buhari has spoken. He has told President Barrow to put his house in order. ECOWAS is pulling out from The Gambia.
I was part of Barrow’s entourage to Nigeria. Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria is not happy with the pace of the country’s transition period. Barrow’s failure to respect his promise to The Gambian people was part of the theme during his visit. The so-called security sector reform was also part of the agenda.
ECOWAS has informed President Barrow that it cannot continue to deploy its troops in Banjul. An ECOWAS envoy was in Banjul last week to have a word with him and his Foreign Minister Tangara.
The continued funding of the West African troops stationed in Banjul is becoming a problem with the regional bloc. France would only commit its resources, provided that Banjul is willing to support its foreign and economic policies.
ECOWAS was with the impression that Barrow was going to stay in power for three years, which would be followed by post transition elections. That never happened. Barrow has instead consolidated himself in power.
Barrow is now running a government under the backing of ECOWAS and the Senegalese splinter forces stationed in Foni, and at the State House.
The Gambian army, which is supposed to take charge of the territorial security has been marginalized during Barrow’s four years rule. The respect that Buhari talked about largely centered on Barrow’s lack of respect for The Gambian army and the electorate. That a true reform cannot happen in the absence of Barrow having faith in the Gambian army and the democratic process.
As an insider, I can report to you that Barrow is panic stricken at this hour. He has no clue as to how to resolve this issue. He kept telling us that Macky Sall got his back. We are under catch 22.
The withdrawal of ECOWAS without a reformed army could render this country ungovernable. The President has two options: One to ride with France, or secure funding for the continued presence of ECOWAS troops in The Gambia.
In a worst-case scenario, signing a confederation with Senegal could help to safeguard the transition period. ECOWAS’s withdrawal is a disaster.
Mighty Nigeria has its own security challenges: terrorism, public dissatisfaction with the Buhari government, and trust issues with the military. The global economic meltdown hasn’t spared Nigeria.
Foreign Minister Momodou Tangara and Defense Minister Sheikh Omar Faye are increasingly worried. They are openly talking.
Finally, almost every member of the delegation was embarrassed when the President had a joint public address with President Buhari. We shook our heads in disgrace. His speech was below expectation. Even a grad niner would have performed better than him.
Our fate now lies in the hands of Buhari and Macky Sall. Let us pray that Nigeria and Senegal would come to our aid.