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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Mai breaks silence


Exactly a month today of his sacking, The Gambia’s former Interior minister has broken his silence by granting an exclusive interview to The Standard.

In a marathon interview with our senior reporter-at-large Omar Wally over the weekend at his residence, Mai Ahmad Fatty said no one has told him why he was removed and that he does not know why he has been given the sack.

He stated: “I did not do anything to the best of my knowledge that would warrant Barrow to relieve me from my responsibility. I don’t know why I was sacked; I think you should ask President Barrow that question, why I was relieved.”

However, Fatty said he knows and accepts that as a minister, he serves at the president’s pleasure and that Barrow has the authority to hire and fire a minister.

The popular lawyer and leader of the Gambia Moral Congress played a key role in the Coalition that dislodged head of state of 22 years, Yahya Jammeh, from power.

Fatty’s removal after just 282 days in office was received as bombshell news and since government has refused to give reason for his sacking, the grapevine went into overdrive with the alleged reasons for his ejection from cabinet.

One purported reason given for his dismissal was allegedly taking a bribe from the Belgian company Semlex for a government contract to print national documents. Responding to this, Fatty said he has never asked for or received a bribe in his professional work.

However, he said his sacking didn’t come as a surprise to him.

But crucially, he said contrary to what was announced, he has not been redeployed to the Foreign Service. “I want to tell you that I have not been assigned to any particular foreign responsibility,” he said.

Asked what the future portends for him, Fatty, pointedly replied, “greatness”, adding that “the best is yet to come”.

Asked whether President Barrow should serve three or five years, he declined to comment.

He called on Gambians to “stop talking and start working”, adding, “Gambians should begin to cooperate and work together and work for The Gambia. We should support the government’s agenda for development and come together to see what we can do to take the Gambia to the next level.”

He urged Gambians to support the president’s development agenda and shun tribalism, regionalism and come together as one people regardless of political affiliation and put the best interest of The Gambia forward.

Read the full transcripts of the interview on the Bantaba column of the Friday edition of The Standard.

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