By Omar Bah
The interim leader of the People’s Progressive Party has advised President Adama Barrow to address tourism minister’s recent “derogatory and divisive comments” about the party’s founding leader late Sir Dawda Jawara.
Hamat Bah angered PPP supporters when he told the people of Niani that he could not believe that even after 27 years of the rule of their own native, Sir Dawda Jawara, they could not be provided a single road or any meaningful development to lessen their extreme poverty.
These comments, PPP leader Kebba Jallow warned, “If not addressed immediately, could seriously derail President Barrow’s political ambitions.”
“You know the likes of Hamat Bah will want to impress the president at all costs so that he can maintain his position or go to a higher height. Also, the likes of Hamat Bah will always want to stand on top of others to rise to the top. But I want to advise President Barrow to watch him very closely because he wants to rise to where he wants to be,” he said.
The PPP leader said Hamat should allow President Barrow to lead discussions. “If protecting the image of the president is what interests him – then he should allow the president to set the agenda,” the PPP leader advised.
Jallow said Hamat is always excited and makes unnecessary noise when he is speaking in the presence of the president and in most cases, he doesn’t talk sense. “He just talks to impress the president but I want to assure him that the PPP will not take his nonsense,” Jallow said.
Jallow continued: “Can you imagine a cabinet minister threatening other ministers that if they don’t support the president’s political agenda, they will lose their jobs? Why would he say other ministers must be political? How can you make a Justice Minister or Finance Minister a politician? It is either he doesn’t know what he is saying or he is trying to impress Barrow so that he can be promoted to another level.”
Reacting specifically to Hamat’s comments on former president Jawara’s failure to build a road in his native area, Jallow said the tourism minister’s comments have seriously angered Jawara’s family and supporters of the party.
“No president can solve the development gaps of this country at one go. It is a continuous process. Minister Hamat Bah should remember that he is today having the freedom to rant thanks to Sir Dawda Jawara and those who fought to get this country out of British rule,” he said.
Jallow said the PPP is very proud of President Barrow’s development projects, especially the roads he is constructing in provincial Gambia but that was expected of him when he was elected.
“Even the president is not criticising Sir Dawda or Yahya Jammeh; he is just saying he will do more than what the two could not do over 50 years. This is what every genuine Gambian wants. PPP stands by President Barrow’s NDP which we think is going fine. We want to have a president who will do what Jawara has not done,” he said.
Jallow said Hamat should remember that when Jawara and his colleagues got independence, the country was very small with very limited resources.
“If you go to Niani, you can argue that the roads are not good but they have roads. Development is a process. The US is now ushering in their 46th president but they are still building roads and even our immediate neighbours Senegal are still building roads. But for Hamat to stand on a stage and denigrate Sir Dawda will not be accepted, especially by me as the leader of the PPP,” he said.
He added: “I was with the president on Monday and the first thing he told me was he had very high regard for President Jawara. I really felt that but had I known what Hamat had said, I would have raised the issue with him.”