A network of national non-governmental organisation individuals and women right advocates in the Gambia who call themselves Transitional Justice Civil Society Platform Saturday issued a statement criticising President Adama Barrow’s cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Barrow on Friday replaced his vice president Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang with Foreign Affairs Minister and leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Ousainou Darboe.

The changes also show the reappointment of two former Jammeh-era ministers, Mamburay Njie and Momodou Tangara as Finance and Foreign Affairs ministers respectively.

The Transitional Justice Civil Society Platform said the new changes totally contravenes international norms and standards as reiterated in instruments such as the CEDAW which calls for 30 per cent women representation; Maputo Protocol of the Banjul Charter, the AU protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and the ECOWAS Gender and Development Policy both of which calls for equal representation across all sectors.

They added: “We are strongly concerned that the country’s women are grossly unrepresented in the new cabinet from 20 to 10 per cent. Whilst four women ministers were appointed from 2017 to 2018, the reshuffle showcased only two women ministers which is 10 per cent of the total executive.”

They said the provisions of section 26 of the 1997 Constitution on political rights (subsection a,b, and c); section 28 rights of women (subsection 1 and 2; section 33 protection from discrimination (subsection 1,2,3,4,5 (subsection 2a-d) and Section 6 subsection 3 and 5; section 7 subsection 3 which all talked about protection from discrimination is seriously undermined by the recent reshuffle.

The right activists also believed that women are underrepresented in the new Gambia, saying their resolution is demanding for new dispensation where women will be significantly holding positions in the cabinet, National Assembly, local Government council, agencies and parastatals.

“The Ministry of Women’s Affairs is under the purview of the Vice President’s Office and the news release is silent on the issue of the Women Ministry. We therefore recommend to the executive in consultation with the gender platform that women are adequately represented all levels of governance.”

By Amadou Jallow