By Alagie Manneh
President Adama Barrow has come under heavy criticism for comments he made while addressing a group of former National Assembly members and governors.
The president said his party would prefer death to shame in the coming election.
“NPP is not taking the December presidential election lightly. We are ready for anything as far as the elections are concern and when you are about to start a war, there are two things to bear in mind – death or shame. You either take death or shame and we the NPP will rather take death than shame,” the president said to his guests.
His comments were severely criticised by opposition leaders and activists, who labeled the remarks “unpresidential, dangerous and reckless”.
But his information minister, Ebrima Sillah, who was asked on the Coffee Time with Peter Gomez on West Coast Radio to clarify the comments, blamed critics for “blowing everything out of proportion”. “I don’t know what to clarify in this because this was a simple statement…” he told the host Peter Gomez. “No. No, the comment is perfectly presidential.”
Sillah said the “problem” was the translation of the words into Mandinka from English.
“I think that was the problem,” he said. “I actually listened to the president’s statement and, what he was saying was that we are going into the December election with high hopes that the NPP would win. And that every militant and supporter of the NPP should work hard for that victory because to be defeated at the polls means a huge embarrassment. And sometimes you rather prefer to take the option that you die than to be embarrassed in such a manner or to be humiliated. This is a common saying in Mandinka.”
Still defending the comments, Mr Sillah said many Kora players have used the “phrase to do heroic songs”.
“Sometimes, Peter, in this country, people always want to take things out of context and blow them out of proportion. I just don’t want to be commenting on some of those things because you [don’t] want to be given a lot of unnecessary attention to them,” he stated.