By Tabora Bojang

Presidential adviser, Siaka Jatta has dismissed widely speculated rumours that he had either resigned or been sacked from his job, reportedly after falling out with President Adama Barrow.

Rumours went around all weekend suggesting that the much-trusted ally of the president has fallen out of favour over an undisclosed matter.

But speaking to The Standard, Mr. Jatta who was appointed following the removal of a senior UDP member Yusupha Cham in 2018, said he was never aware of any rift between him and President Adama Barrow and has never left his job.

“If I had resigned, how come I was the MC at the president’s meeting on Sunday? In fact, my official driver has just come to pick me up today and we are getting ready for our meeting in Jambur. So I don’t think I will be chairing these meetings if I had issues with the president to the extent of me resigning. This is baseless talks spread by critics,” Jatta, a former deputy governor of WCR, told The Standard yesterday.

Politicised tour

Mr. Jatta also debunked claims by the president of the National Farmers’ Platform, who accused Barrow of neglecting the plight of the farmers and used the tour for a political campaign as the December presidential polls draw near.    

“The president’s only preoccupation and message now is how to win the election instead of enquiring about farmers and rural community problems as required by the constitution which provided money for the trip,” Dampha told The Standard last week.

But according to the presidential adviser, such comments are misleading.

“The president has so far conducted the tour in the most appropriate manner. He was able to listen to the concerns of the people in the areas of economic support, health, agriculture and education and he responded adequately to their needs which saw the distribution of ambulances.  As with the Obama Care in America, I call this [ambulance] initiative the Barrow Care because he is the one who introduced it in The Gambia,” Jatta said.

He said even though it was clear the tour is a “constitutional requirement instead of a campaign trail” it would be practically difficult to separate a sitting president from politics.

According to him before commencement of any meetings, the community would determine for themselves who should speak on their behalf and select people including opinion leaders, traditional leaders, politicians and farmers.

“So, I know he [Barrow] has not politicised this tour.”

Asked about the alleged politically-motivated appearance of the APRC interim leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta at one of these meetings, the presidential adviser said FTJ and members of his party are citizens of The Gambia. He was quick to add that the former majority leader was allowed to speak based on the request of the community.

“It is the communities who decide who should speak for them. If they choose Fabakary, Kumba or Pateh that is their right and we should not dictate them. Fabakary is a native of Nuimi, so if he speaks in Nuimi, does that make the tour political?” Jatta submitted.

However, The Standard understands that this particular meeting was not held in Nuimi but in the Jokadu district of Munyagen village.