By Omar Bah
Outspoken Gambian imam based in the United States, Momodou Lamin Ceesay, has called on Ecowas to as a matter of urgency withdraw the regional troops based in the country.
“I am calling on Ecowas to withdraw the Ecomig forces in The Gambia, especially those who are responsible for the president and his family’s security,” he said in a WhatsApp audio shared with The Standard.
The imam said the Ecomig forces should leave so that the veneer of protection that they give him would be removed and the president faces the stark realities Gambians are living with.
“Let the president and his ministers experience what Gambian people are suffering. Gambians are crying and dying everyday but this president doesn’t care, he is only concerned about his re-election in December as if he is created to rule The Gambia forever,” Imam Ceesay chastised.
The prominent Islamic cleric who hails from Jarra Toniataba has been living in the United States since 1998. He was among the imams who used their pulpit to condemn the excesses of the Jammeh government.
He said President Barrow should always remember that he serves as a trustee of the power Gambian people delegated to him and that he should not sacrifice their wellbeing on the altar of political expediency.
“The position of a president is highly respected and it comes with a huge responsibility and that is the holder will account for his stewardship in the hereafter. You [Barrow] are well paid, fed, sheltered and given all the traveling means but you still want to give more prominence to securing a second term. If you continue like this, it shall not go well with you,” he cautioned.
He said the president should publicly speak out against the killings in the country.
“When you meet the Banjul Muslim elders at State House during the Koriteh – all Gambians were expecting you to address the issues of rising crime rates and harsh living conditions but to their disappointment, you again focus on your political agenda,” he said.
Turning to leaders in the country, especially the spiritual lords, he said they “continuously fail Gambians by refusing to tell the president the truth about what is happening in the country”.
He described as nonsensical the mantra that presidents are chosen by God and as such they should not be criticised. “There is nothing wrong with criticising a president who runs a criminal government and doesn’t care about the very people the same God asked him to protect,” he argued.