his reported “removal” by President Barrow as Interior minister, Ahmed Mai
Fatty, leader of The Gambia Moral Congress is still “a part of the coalition
government”, says Presidential spokesperson on Thursday.
“It is constitutional power that the president has; he has decided that he needs to relieve the former minister of his portfolio. Based on that, I cannot give you any reason why he took that decision,” Amie Bojang-Sissoho said in response to questions on the matter by reporters at the State House last week.
In his first removal of a Cabinet member from office since coming to power in January this year, President Adama Barrow announced that the embattled minister of Interior has been removed from his Cabinet portfolio.
He, however, gave no reasons why he removed a one-time strong man of the coalition government, basing it on the powers that have been accorded to him.
At the said press conference, Mrs. Bojang-Sissoho said the president “is currently reviewing a list of candidates for the position of minister of interior, and is expected to announce it very soon.”
Below is how the marathon questioning went from the members of the press:
Mustapha Darboe: When do we expect a new minister to be appointed?
Director of Press: Very soon…
Mustapha: Are there candidates?
Mustapha: How many?
I won’t tell you that.
Mustapha: Do they send in applications or what?
DPPR: How are ministers appointed?
Jeffang: The release that said Fatty will be deployed to foreign services, did not state where?
It has not been specified yet
Sanna: There was this information online that he will be re-deployed to Eq Guinea (laughter). Is that true?
I am not responding to…. Jokes!
Sanna: Do you mean that the information is a joke?
I am not responding to jokes.
Mustapha: I don’t want to be seen to be insisting on Mai’s case but I want to ask once more. Barrow is leading a coalition government – comprising several parties coming together to support his candidacy, including Fatty’s GMC – do you think that it is prudent to fire a major stakeholder?
Let me correct that point: it is not a coalition partner that has been fired, it is the minister of Interior that has been fired.
Mustapha: who is also a coalition partner?
That does not mean that he is not part of the coalition government. That is a political dimension. We are now talking about this position….
Mustapha: When they are negotiating the terms of the coalition, one of the issues they talked about was distribution of ministerial positions. So, Fatty became a minister because of his position as a party leader. Now if Barrow decided to fire him as minister, don’t you think he owes an explanation to the supporters of the GMC who are also part of the coalition supporters, as to why he fired him?
It is not about Barrow telling the supporters of Mai. The supporters of Mai are Gambians equally like you and me. The prerogative of what goes out to the public is not on me or you but on the president. His decision is that he has the constitutional powers to make that decision and he has taken it. And that’s it.
Mustapha: What is the Presidency’s view of transparency?
Mustapha: Like Barrow? How does he define transparency?
I cannot tell you how he defines it except when he has the opportunity to tell you, he will tell you. But transparency’s definition is for everybody’s guess – it is to give information.
But remember, there is also an oath which all our leaders have undergone. Secrecy is something you have to abide by, and if it is extremely necessary that the information is given out, it will be given out. But if it is deemed not necessary and we should move on, we will move on.
Mustapha: The presidency is a delegated authority – it is the people who gave Barrow accumulated authority on their behalf – don’t you think that when Barrow takes a crucial decision on their behalf he is representing, he should go back to them and tell them why he took it?
That is why he said at his airport interview, that he did it for the good of the country.
Mustapha: Thank you.