By Amadou Jadama
President Adama Barrow’s former vice president has appealed to the head os state to grant an executive pardon to the nine leaders of the proscribed 3 Years Jotna movement standing trial at the high court if they are ever found guilty.
Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang made the call on Sunday at a “peace dialogue” organised by Brikama Gidda Kanbeng Kafo. The community group was set up to promote peace and foster tolerance among Gambians.
The former veep told the gathering: “When Gambia For 5 Years and 3 Years Jotna wanted to protest, I invited them to my compound and I told them that nobody should say that they will defend President Adama Barrow, or Ousainu Darboe or Hamat Bah, instead they should defend The Gambia. If 3 Years Jotna says violence, Gambia For 5 Years should say peace. I engaged them to maintain peace in the country.
“I told them to have mercy for Gambians. For 22 years The Gambia was crying and suffering. So if anyone wants to stoke the fires of violence, I see it as my responsibility to convene a dialogue to defuse it. 3 Years Jotna went out to protest and they were arrested and now they are facing the law.
“I called President Adama Barrow and told him that if the law found them guilty, he should be magnanimous enough and pardon them for the sake of Allah and the stability of the country…” she said.
Mrs Tambajang, a native of Brikama, revealed that she still communicates with President Barrow. “Why should I ignore my president during whose selection I was not absent. If I ignore him, it would mean that I wanted only the position. There is a relationship between me and President Barrow. We all should have one focus and that is the peace and stability of the country. When there is no peace, the people will turn on us,” she said.
She added: “People are saying that I’m not in the government. But I’m still the coalition chairperson. We selected Barrow as the coalition flag-bearer and we showed him to the Gambian people and they accepted him. Therefore, we are the ones who brought our bus and we chose Barrow to be the bus driver. We see only The Gambia, and we will continue to see only The Gambia, forever.”
The former UN worker said everything will come to an end and that is why no one should be pompous. She exhorted parents to discipline their children. “If they want to do politics, they can go ahead but they should do it with respect and within the confinement of the law. Discipline is lacking in our society nowadays. Even myself, they used to insult me, but as a leader you must accept that because even Prophet Muhammad encountered a lot more difficulties than we did. So if they insult me that will not make me angry. Let us preach peace and maintain it. If anyone wants to bring violence in the country, Allah will not accept that,” she preached.
Lamin Jammeh, the head of Brikama Gidda Kanbeng Kafo said his organisation is apolitical. “We are all Gambians, and we have seen the political situation in the country, and we should not allow politics to divide us. This is why I took the responsibility as a Gambian to come out with this initiative. My focus is for everybody to preach peace and nurture that peace,” he concluded.