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Madi Jobarteh: President Barrow’s Visit to Guinea Undermines National Sovereignty

Madi Jobarteh

What is the purpose of Pres. Barrow’s visit to Guinea-Conakry? The press release from State House is not only scanty but highly misleading which is confirmed by what Barrow told his host! In the videos circulating, Barrow is seen sitting with Pres. Alpha Conde saying that he came to learn from Conde, a man who is notorious for undermining his country’s constitution just to continue to grip power, regardless of how many of his citizens were killed!

It is utterly unbelievable that a President of a whole country would visit another President of another country in order to learn from the host. Presidents do not embark on study tours at all. If Barrow needed to learn anything, indeed the resources, competence and personalities exist in The Gambia for him to utilize to know what he needed to know since 2017.

Thus for Pres. Barrow to wait until the eve of the end of his tenure to travel to a fellow president to sit at his feet asking to learn is indeed the highest insult to national sovereignty and dignity. Nowhere in international relations would a sitting President go to another President to claim to learn from the host.

President Barrow must understand that he carries at all times the collective dignity, sovereignty and power of the Gambian people and their Republic. Hence for him to submit himself to any other person or country or entity on earth other than the People of The Gambia is treasonable. By his actions and words in Conakry, Pres. Barrow has surrendered our sovereignty to a foreign country. He has no powers whatsoever to do such and he should be held accountable.

Barrow must understand that international relation is based on the sovereign equality of nations. This is non-negotiable. No mater how powerful and rich and influential one country or its president is, it does not have any more equality than the smallest, poorest or less influential country or its president on earth!

For example, no matter it’s power and influence the United States of America does not have more sovereignty over and above The Gambia! They all have one vote each! For that matter, the President of The Gambia cannot perceive the President of the United States as big sister or big brother or father or mother or teacher to learn from. This is why Presidents refer to each other as ‘colleague’ or ‘friend’. There is no big or small President!

I recall even the despicable tinpot dictator Yaya Jammeh would refer to former Senegalese Pres. Abdoulaye Wade as ‘brother’. Yet Wade can be a father to Jammeh and far more educated. But despite his criminality, Jammeh knew as far as international diplomacy was concerned that the age and education of Wade is irrelevant! President is just President!

The fact that one is compelled as a last resort to use Jammeh as an example in itself tells how much Pres. Barrow is equally betraying and misleading The Gambia like his predecessor!

Therefore for Adama Barrow to bundle himself all the way to Conakry to ask that dishonest leader Alpha Conde to teach him is indeed the highest insult inflicted on a sovereign nation. The National Assembly must call the President to order for this gross blunder at the international level!

The fact that we are at the eve of the presidential election while the TRRC is about to hand over its final report to Barrow should generate legitimate concerns about this dubious visit. We know that Alpha Conde is not an honest leader who subverted democracy by changing the country’s constitution in order to legitimatize his grip on power. Also, knowing that Conde is a Jammeh ally and ready to shield him from accountability, it begs the question as to what is Barrow discussing with Conde behind closed doors!

Above all, why would the President go to spend three days in Guinea? What is the national interest he is pursuing in Conakry? State House must know that they have a duty to be transparent to Gambians!

Therefore whatever the President is doing anytime and anywhere must be fully disclosed to citizens on time. If they cannot disclose such information for national security reasons, citizens must be told accordingly. But the statement from State House about this visit is vague, misleading and unacceptable.

Therefore the National Assembly must summon the President to question him about this visit. In a normal democracy and with good leadership, the President should have informed the parliament about the national objectives he is pursuing with this visit. There is a standing committee on foreign relations in the National Assembly which must ensure that they get the full details of this dubious visit! I hope our NAMs will stand up this time to salvage the country from the uncountable embarrassing actions of this President.

We the citizens need to know why President Barrow went to Guinea-Conakry for three good days with such a large entourage. What is the cost of this visit? How much is The Gambia gaining from this visit? We need to know.

For The Gambia Our Homeland

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