Ramzia Diab-Ghanem, Gambia’s former High Commissioner to Malaysia and the ASEAN countries, has expressed disgust over recent comments made by Tallinding NAM Fatoumatta Jawara.
NAM Jawara caused public outrage when she urged President Barrow to bring Yahya Jammeh back in order to silence UDP leader Ousainu Darboe.
Contacted for her views as a victim of the Jammeh torture and the fact that another victim wants the same torture meted out to someone else, the former NAM Ramzia Diab said Fatoumatta Jawara’s utterances were abhorrent.
“I am appalled. I am disgusted. I am ashamed. I am disappointed. As a woman and a victim like Fatoumatta Jawara for her to utter such statements on a political platform. She thinks she is sending this message to a party leader and an elder statesman whose record has been exemplary in this country. He fought for our freedom; no matter what, he should be given respect that he deserves as an elderly person, as a father and a leader of a party.
“I am disappointed for the fact that I am a woman and I can hear my fellow victim be uttering such statements. Is she so angry that she has to put her anger towards an individual, forgetting that there are other women like her who were victims of torture?” she said.
Turning to President Barrow, who she described as humble and decent, Ramzia however said Fatoumatta’s comments should have been condemned on the spot and the situation handled much better.
“I am sending a message to the president of the republic. I have very high regard and respect for him. He is our leader; he is our brother. But I am advising him that he is a leader of all Gambians. Such statements should not be allowed to be uttered in front of him because it is shameful. I am urging him to publicly condemn these statements by Fatoumatta Jawara in order to ease the minds of victims like us who really fought for the freedom we have today that other people are also enjoying.
I also blame people surrounding him, especially Hamat Bah, Minister of Tourism and others, who were going down so low to beg Fatoumatta Jawara. The mic should have been taken away from her and the president should have sent somebody immediately to condemn the statement; that this statement by Fatoumatta Jawara was not from us. She has done it before, and it is enough. I am saying this as a citizen of this country; as a politician, as an activist and as somebody who cares and has been a victim of torture of Yahya Jammeh. So for her to be so angry to wish for Jammeh to come back to mete the same kind of torture to someone else is very bad,” she added.
The former ambassador said she expected Fatoumatta to draw the president’s attention to the number of women losing their lives during labour while advising President Barrow to keep praise-singers at bay and safeguard his humility.
“I am sending a special message to President Barrow who I have high regard for but I am disappointed that he didn’t publicly condemn what Fatoumatta Jawara has done. She is a young politician; she should think about her career tomorrow. Politics is not about accusing or abusing each other. We can do our politics and talk about issues.
I was expecting Fatoumatta Jawara to talk about the women that are dying of childbirth in this country. There are no medicines in hospitals. People are suffering in the provinces. Roads are not built. These are the things we should be talking about,” she noted.
She added: “Democracy is all about policies, how to develop the country and how to lift young people. Adama Barrow is a decent man, so I am urging him to keep away from praise-singers and people who would only tell him what he wants to hear, not who would tell him the truth. These personal attacks are very dangerous and it is going to lose him supporters. If mature politicians or mature people who have the country at heart, if they see the things that are being said, and he is sitting there as the president, he would lose support. They would start going to the other side. So, he should be very careful.
I am a victim of torture. I belong to the victims centre. I know firsthand what we had suffered in the hands of a dictator but even that dictator would never allow in his rallies these kinds of utterances from supporters. “