By Omar Bah
The leader of the Gambia Moral Congress has called on President Adama Barrow to as, a matter of urgency, order the re-opening of all mosques in the country.
Addressing journalists at a press conference yesterday, Mai Fatty said: “If the markets are open, mosques too should open because it is the same principle that is there.”
Fatty added that when he went to the market, he was shocked with the way people are behaving because there is no restriction.
“Why should you close the mosques then? What is the justification?” he asked.
According to the GMC leader, a responsible government will always know what to do before taking any decision.
“You cannot copy from Senegal and paste in The Gambia. That will not work. We cannot continue to operate a government of copy and paste. The imams should go back to the mosques. President Barrow please re-open the mosques,” Mai Fatty pleaded.
The former Interior Minister also said from the very beginning he was not in support of closing mosques.
“People can say anything they feel like saying but I am not in support of it because there is no justification in closing mosques,” he added.
The former presidential adviser said The Gambia is approaching a crossroad and a fundamental decision has to be made on whether “we are going to consolidate the change or the status quo.”
Discussing his experience in quarantine where he spent time after returning from Senegal, Fatty said: “When I went into quarantine, the first thing I noticed was that I found nothing in my room. I would have expected to find at least a facemask and some basic necessities that would be important for persons under quarantine. But nothing was there and some people were picked up from the streets with only one shirt. I don’t know whether the executive is aware but that is my experience.”
Mr Fatty said there is a growing despondency among frontline workers who work for very long hours and are paid with pittance.
“I can tell you in my conversation with these workers I got to know that some of them have to borrow fish money to feed their families and 90% of them have not seen their families for 3 weeks or more because they too are quarantined permanently. Morale is going down among them and if we allow this situation to continue then there is going to be a disaster for the country. This is an indictment. Some of them have not been paid. I wonder what happened to the Africell D12 million.
I am pleading with the government and the National Assembly to ensure that these people’s welfare is taken care of. Our public health workers deserve more than what they are getting today,” Fatty argued.
He said the government should support the families of the many breadwinners who are under quarantine.
“I can tell you that if the situation of our quarantine centres is not properly looked at, the quarantine plans will collapse. They provide only one meal a day for everybody under quarantine,” Fatty lamented.
“I am appealing to the president to open up to even those who have different ideas to his own. He should remember that it is not about how he came to power but how he will exit power,” he said.
Ministers’ behaviour in parliament
The GMC leader said the way and manner ministers speak to National Assembly members is horrible.
“The National Assembly Chamber is the highest chamber in this country. A government is nothing without the National Assembly. It is the most important organ of the state; whosoever goes there is answerable to the people. If you go there, you have to be discipline because ministers are subservient to the National Assembly. Ministers are answerable to the president and the parliament,” he added.
“I am calling on all the ministers to get all their facts correct when they are going to the National Assembly and when they go there, let them speak with decorum. You cannot go there and start showing off because you are a minister. It is not about the people but the institution,” he said.