Barrow of Gambia Pledges Term Limits And Reform As Part Of His ‘Legacy’

President Adama Barrow of Gambia, who was just re-elected, announced Tuesday that he would institute a presidential term limit before the end of his five-year term.

Barrow, whose election in 2016 brought an end to a more than two-decade-long dictatorship, also told the international community that he would work to ensure that the president is elected by an absolute majority rather than the current first-past-the-post system.

Barrow, on the other hand, stopped short of committing to hold those responsible for the state’s and its agents’ crimes perpetrated during Yahya Jammeh’s regime accountable.

Barrow appointed a truth commission to investigate the alleged violations after assuming the presidency.

It handed him a report in November demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

“I am a firm believer in term limits… “I am a firm believer in absolute majority,” Barrow declared during his first press conference following his weekend election victory declaration.

“I tell you, the international community, and all Gambians, that we will have a new constitution with term limits and absolute majority.”

The current constitution, adopted in 1997, contains no provision for term limitations.

International partners of Gambia view reform as critical to reining in the president’s powers and consolidating the country’s precarious democracy.

Noting that a previous attempt at constitutional reform in 2020 failed, he swore that the reform will take place before the end of his tenure in office.

“I want that initiative to be a part of my legacy,” he remarked.

Parliament rejected a draft of a new constitution in September 2020 that would have imposed a two-term limit.

The retroactive nature of the cap had been a point of contention for Barrow’s supporters, since it would have barred him from seeking a third term.

Barrow did not react to a question on whether his term limitations should be removed under a new constitution.

Guinea’s President Alpha Conde ran for a contested third term in 2020 on these grounds, but was deposed in a coup.

When it comes to pursuing those responsible for atrocities committed during the Jammeh regime, Barrow stated that while he played a role, it was not entirely his decision.

He stated that he will make that decision over the following six months in collaboration with his government and after consulting experts.

“One thing we want to be assured of is that justice and reconciliation will occur,” the group stated.

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