Mai warns against ‘threatening’ Gambians

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By Alagie Manneh

Special adviser to the President Mai Fatty has said it would be “unwise” for anybody to attempt to reverse gains made in the fight for democracy in The Gambia, and warned that “nobody has the right to threaten Gambian citizens.”

His comments came following a spate of deadly threats against Gambian citizens by their own cabinet ministers at a rally in Brikama.

The president was present as the ministers made “heinous threats” against would-be protesters.

Speaking in a Standard interview, Fatty who served as Interior minister, said he is not sure if he would make similar threats as the current Interior minister did.

“Whether you are a government officer or not, nobody has the right to threaten Gambian citizens,” Fatty reprimanded.

Asked to simply answer yes or no if he would have made similar remarks to that of Ebrima Mballow if he were the Interior Minister, Fatty evaded, saying: “I can only be accountable for my statement.

I cannot comment on other people’s public statement because those responsibilities rest on those people.”

Asked how he, an adviser, permitted President Barrow to allow his ministers make such unguarded remarks against Gambians, he said: “I am not the political adviser to the president, let me correct you.

The political adviser is honourable Siaka Jatta, he would be the best person to respond to these. My area of jurisdiction does not involve politics.”

Responding to social media critics most of whom condemned the Brikama rally, saying the president and his followers “can’t play grown-up politics,” Fatty equipped that “those Gambians are entitled to their views.

It’s freedom of opinion. If they feel the government is playing immature politics, they are entitled to that view.”

Fatty reminded that “politics is messy and very complex,” adding that “when politicians meet they belt each other and sometimes they go worse.

Sometimes even at the detriment of their own citizens,” the astute politician said.

He refused to say if his comments could be seen as a caution for the ministers.

“You want me to go personal, and you are condemning that personal politics here. I can only say as a principle no one has the right to threaten Gambians.”