By Tabora Bojang
The lead counsel of the truth commission, Essa Faal has said even though he was shocked and disappointed with some statements about his involvement in Covid-19 relief campaign, he would not engage in silly political squabbles with people who may not know what to do as a result of reduced activity brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Faal, who is the best known face among a group distributing food aid to the population, attracted attention when an APRC supporter turned down his group’s aid in Lamin. He was also accused by presidential adviser Dou Sanno of snubbing Barrow and instead choosing to work with the opposition in the fight against Covid-19.In his response, Faal said it would be foolish for anyone to politicise a laudable humanitarian effort to save vulnerable Gambians in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that plagued the economy and livelihoods of the people.
“This is not partisan; it is not about President Barrow, Ousainu Darboe, Halifa Sallah, Hamat Bah or whosoever. It is about us as Gambians trying to take care of each other in this great time of need,” Faal told The Standard.
“It is foolish for anyone to try to politicize it by scoring political points because it derails and it takes the spirit out of what we are trying to achieve.Everybody was invited to participate in this cause including the president, the First Lady, Ousainu Darboe and leaders of other political parties, it is not for us to force them to come and participate; it is their free will. So if they choose to do something else that is not our problem,” he said.
Faal said he is shocked with the level of poverty, deprivation and sufferings some Gambians are undergoing amid the pandemic.
“We want to encourage everybody who can to participate, it shows who we are as Gambians regardless of status, tribe or political affiliation.”
Asked if his dint of disappointment at Dou Sanno was exacerbated by the virtue of his position as one of President Barrow’s top aides, Faal responded: “I don’t know but to be quite candid, I don’t care what his title is, we are not interested in little political bickering or scoring of little political points. What we are interested in is helping one another in this great time of need, this is the time when no one should see Manjago or Mandinka, Wolof or Serer, Fula or Jola. What we see is Gambia.”
Mr. Faal reportedly had an encounter with a perceived APRC supporter who rejected the foodstuff. It sparked outrage on social media with many saying the work could be risky for him considering his position at the TRRC.
Asked if he is worried about his safety, Faal said he is not.
“We have entered 900 homes and it is only one person who says we are not welcome, so should I be bothered about that?”