The Gambia Moral Congress leader, Mai Ahmad Fatty has said his comments on Tourism Minister Hamat Bah’s ‘tribal’ statements were blown out of proportion.
Minister Bah’s “dirimo” or rat characterization of political opponents attracted widespread condemnation across the political spectrum. The comments were described as inappropriate. Mr Bah has since apologised but defended his highlighting of the plight of Fulas with regard to the ID card problem.
However, Mai Fatty differs with many people when it comes to the intent and interpretation in relation to the person of Minister Bah.
“My views are based on my personal interaction, knowledge and understanding of the person of Hamat Bah. In all of my dealings with him, I did not find him as a tribalist. Some may well find this wrong, but I can only speak to the facts experienced by me and known to me,” he told The Standard.
But the former Interior Minister said since the publication, people have been attacking him due to the headline without necessarily reading the whole content of the story.
“My statement on Hamat Bah’s dirimo reference was taken out of context. I did not support or encourage tribal rhetoric. I have always been very vocal against tribalism, especially tribal attacks against Mandingkas. My opinion that Mandingkas should not take the dirimo reference as belonging to them alone, was misinterpreted by my detractors as supporting tribalist comments. This is not true. Gambians have witnessed over the years how much I defend human rights of all, and also raised my voice against tribal bigotry,” he said.
He continued: “I condemn tribal politics wherever it emerged. I have also been on record for expressing my views against hosting political rallies at State House. Unfortunately, so many people were misled by a newspaper headline that was at variance with my statements. I did not defend the tribalist statements of Hamat Bah, and those who ascribed it to me do so to score cheap political points.”