Gambia’s President, Adama Barrow, will face five other candidates for the Gambian presidential election on December 4.
It has been five years already since the people of The Gambia succeeded ending the dictator Yahya Jammeh’s era. Former dictator, who ruled unchallenged for more than twenty years over the country has been kicked out of office by actual President Adama Barrow. Under pressure from the ECOWAS countries, notably Senegal and Nigeria, Jammeh had to give up his place to the winner of the 2016 election.
Since then, The Gambia has managed to become more and more democratic. President Barrow has initiated major infrastructure projects and concluded several trade agreements with neighbouring countries, among others.
At a political level, the country has evolved considerably: more than 18 parties are currently active. For the presidential election on December 4, six candidates were selected by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Among them are Adam Barrow’s former ally Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP), as well as Mamma Kandeh of the Gambian Democratic Congress (GDC).
the Gambian President, Adama Barrow, had created his own party in December 2019, the National People’s Party (NPP), after his break of the 2016 coalition and the fallout with UDP. The NPP succeeded, in record time, in gaining significant popular support. Since the disagreement between Barrow and Darboe, the Gambian president has sought to open up politically. And the announcement of Barrow’s candidacy, last Friday, showed that the NPP has many supporters. On the side of the former ally, and now opponent, the popularity of the President is a surprise.
Is Adama Barrow the favorite in the upcoming presidential election?
On the side of the NPP, Adama Barrow’s political party, hopes rest on the president’s mandate record. In just over three years, Barrow has succeeded in erasing 22 years of The Gambia’s diplomatic isolation. The Gambia has reviewed its relations with neighbouring countries, in particular Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Then, in February 2018, The Gambia re-joined the Commonwealth. In 2019, Adama Barrow made education and infrastructure his priority goals. A campaign to electrify the country was then launched, and the facilities were built up to eastern Gambia. School curricula have been revisited and hundreds of teachers recruited by the state.
In terms of infrastructure, the state has launched construction of five major roads, which our heavily tourism-reliant country lacks, especially around Serrekunda and Banjul. In 2020, the Gambian government concluded dozens of public-private partnership (PPP) agreements, including in the areas of water sanitation, agriculture and tourism. Also, the return to normal of The Gambia’s relations with several countries in Asia and Africa has helped revitalize the country. With this record, Adama Barrow has, despite the previous split in his parliamentary coalition and other political turmoil, a good chance of being re-elected. According to polls taken in the middle of the year, it shouldn’t be worried by its competitors