The sacked Gambian Agriculture Minister Omar Amadou Jallow says the Coalition government under the leadership of President Adama Barrow, has not only betrayed the Gambian government, but has also betrayed God, who has paved the way for the country to be liberated from dictator Jammeh’s twenty-two years tyrannical rule. Mr. Jallow, speaking for the first time, since he was fired by President Barrow, said, to add insult to injury, Mr. Barrow, has hired former Jammeh enablers in the persons of Mamburay Njie, and Momodou Tangara—both of whom were appointed Ministers during the weekend cabinet reshuffle.
OJ, as he is widely referred to, noted that even the United States of America, which is the world’s bastion of democracy, will not resort to such misplaced prior appointment of public officials, linked to aiding and abetting a former Gambian despot Yahya Jammeh.
Mamburay has been appointed Finance Minister, while Momodou Tangara, is Barrow’s Foreign Minister. Jallow has faulted the appointment of Njie and Tangara. He says there are competent people in the Coalition government who can man such portfolios.
“Momodou Tangara is my nephew because his mother Fatou Ndure used to be the Yai Compin of the late Landing Jallow Sonko of the PPP. My point is: We are not more democratic than the United States of America. It is my fervent belief that there are competent people in the Coalition government who can man such positions. As a member of the Coalition government, I have forgiven those who wronged me, in the previous regime, but forgiving them doesn’t mean that I will reinstate Yahya Jammeh into the presidency. We should reflect on this matter thoroughly because the message the President is sending out is that we do not have good and competent people in the Coalition, and that is not true,” OJ said.
According to OJ, President Barrow, has shifted from the Coalition’s goals and objectives. He reminded Barrow that he never ascended into the Presidency, through an individual effort, but through a collective concerted effort.
“From my own observation as a Gambian, I think there is a shift in position from the president to forget that he has been put in place a coalition government and not by a party. And I think for me, I think the only thing that the Gambia had, and God have made us happened was when seven parties and three independents came together to form a coalition and that was the reason why we ousted Yahya Jammeh,” OJ noted.
“The president contested as an Independent candidate and that’s why I couldn’t understand the Chairperson of the Coalition should be removed as Vice President and be replaced by Ousainou Darboe, because I thought we are all part of the Coalition and that Coalition spirit and unity should survive until the end of the transitional government, if not, we have betrayed the trust of the Gambian people; and we have betrayed the trust that God has put in the Coalition; because it was God’s decision that if we come together; we been together fighting for twenty two years; most candidates have stood for twenty two years and failed; it is only when we had a Coalition, and have an Independent person, who didn’t contest under any party or any color; that is where God decides that changes will happen; I think we should have respected that decision and live by the Coalition agreement,” he added.
OJ told Freedom Newspaper that President Barrow’s decision to fire him and spared his UDP colleagues in Cabinet, has confirmed the widely held view in the country that he has compromised his independence as an Independent elected President.
“There is this saying in the Wollof Fanafana that if you are accuse of being a witch, and you are caught eating a kid’s leg; what does that mean? You are a Fanafana; I guessed you know the insinuation of that statement,” OJ remarked.
OJ also accused President Barrow of trying to favor the United Democratic Party—the (UDP) by not firing its officials in Cabinet. He observed that the goal of Barrow’s political biasness is purely aimed at consolidating the UDP into a future government post transition period. “That’s the way I see things. We have to be honest,” OJ posited.
The former Agriculture Minister also raised the firing of the former Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang. OJ contends that Ms. Tambajang shouldn’t have been fired—given her immense contribution in mobilizing support, resources and bringing the opposition together to form an alliance to defeat Jammeh’s in the past elections.
“I couldn’t understand why the Chairperson of Coalition should be removed as Vice President and be replaced by Ousainou Darboe because I thought we are all part of the Coalition and that Coalition spirit and unity should survive until the end of the transitional government if not we have betrayed the trust and confidence of the Gambian people; and we have betrayed the trust that God has put in the Coalition,” OJ remarked.
“To be honest, I think the Vice President was doing well, very well; as she was the Chairperson of the Coalition; I think that position belongs to her because thank God, she was the one, thick and thin, who was coordinating; and sharing; and calling all the meetings; and with patience and perseverance of all the struggle and all the hustling within the committee, the Executive, that is why we arrived where we are right now,” he added.
OJ said he is not going to resign from the Coalition government, but he maintained that he will not watch by and allow Mr. Barrow and his cronies to rule this country towards the path of democratic retrogression. He said now that he is out of government, he has more leverage to criticize and hold the government accountable if he feels that they are departing from what Gambians have voted for. He also said he is going to network with his colleagues, who believed that President Barrow should rule the Gambia for three years as agreed in the Coalition Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). He said Barrow should step down from office after the completion of the three years agreed by the Coalition.
“For me, I will continue to be an active politician because I owe it to this country; that’s why I am here; and I will never ever allow myself to be a “standbyer”; to stand by and see this Gambia move in a wrong direction and for me to keep quiet about it; that is not possible,” said OJ.
OJ was in Parliament, when he received a phone call that he should report to the State House. Upon arrival, the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service Habib Drammeh, handed him a letter stating his services with the Gambian government has been terminated.
“I have never anticipated it. I have never seen it coming. I always tell people that I have one and half more years to go because for me, as usual, I have told people that after the three years I am going; that’s what the contract with the Gambian people; that I agreed with the Gambian people,” OJ said.
Asked whether his sacking has anything to do with the sale of the expired fertilizer belonging to The Gambian government, OJ retorted: “He has fired not me alone; he has removed Health; he has removed Information; he has removed the Vice President; and these people have nothing to do with the fertilizer. I think he has just wanted to a reshuffle and then I think he thought this is the way he should do it.”
Mr. Jallow said he has filed a lawsuit against the Kerr Fatou blog, which published what he called a defamatory story against me. He said the matter is before the High Court.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai