By Tabora Bojang
President Adama Barrow has accused outspoken activist Madi Jobarteh of wanting to burn down the country and said his government will handle him.
Addressing a meeting with Muslim elders at State House on Monday, the president also criticised Gambian media outfits for continuing to give a platform to Jobarteh whose only interest, he alleged, is “to incite chaos in The Gambia”.
The president also announced that he is ending “government’s long endurance against lawlessness perpetrated by individuals in the name of human rights”.
He stated: “There are individuals who girdle their waists and are bent on criticising my government in order to distract and bring disunity into this country and one of them is Madi Jobarteh. He is among the people who want to set this country ablaze and we should all be mindful of him. I have never stood on a platform and talked about him. He claims he is from the civil society but he is a civil society [member] whose only intention is to set the country on fire and all the journalists are giving him a platform. But they should know that whoever is aiding Madi Jobarteh, you are not helping The Gambia. As a government we are very cautious of him and we are going to take a stance because we will not sit and allow him to destabilise this country,” Barrow charged, buoyed by applause from his audience.
“Even the president respects the laws and everyone should equally do so. They keep talking about human rights but human rights does not only relate to government. We have seen individuals abusing people. Is that not [violation of] human rights? We cannot accept that,” Barrow stated.
The president’s remarks led to a spirited debate online with the majority of commentators accusing him of demonstrating dictatorial tendencies. However, the president’s supporters said he spoke rightly to check Madi’s incessant vitriol.
Jobarteh, a former deputy head of Tango, now heads the Westminster Foundation.