President Barrow Baits the Chiefs and Alkalolus, Taunts UDP
President Adama Barrow has on Saturday warned Gambian Chiefs and Alkalolus to be mindful of a way of doing politics that he said “never happened” under APRC 22 years’ reign and Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s 30 years in power. Barrow was speaking at State House in Banjul.
The incumbent president began his discourse by throwing bait at his guests of the day as he invites them to be loyal to his government in return for a long stay in their positions.
“Being a chief is a lifetime position. So if you know what to do and remain loyal and supportive to the government, you will stay forever in your position. Being a Chief is a gratifying lifetime position. It’s also the same for the Alkalolus,” President Barrow said.
Barrow’s attempt to distance Chiefs, Alkalolus from UDP
Although he meticulously avoided mentioning his political aims, it was clear that Barrow’s address alluded to UDP and Ousainou Darboe, whose militants suffered a violent attack in Kanilai on Saturday from supporters of former President Yahya Jammeh.
“They are not yet in power, and they have people dressed in black-black, going around the country, assaulting and confiscating people’s identification documents while alleging that they are not Gambian citizens. What kind of people are they? If those people take over this country, you will forever regret what they will do to us,” Barrow warned.
The President would not give specific details about his allegations. Yet, he said some of the people claiming to weed out non-Gambian citizens from politics proudly carry dual citizenship in foreign countries like the United States of America.
In what seems to be his narrow understanding of American demographics, President Adama Barrow said: “Some of those thugs have American passports, and they vote in the American elections. They are black people in America that is a white country“.
The Senegalese High Commissioner intimidated, according to Barrow.
Barrow did not specify the political affiliation of the Gambian people he claims have a targeted hostility towards the Senegalese nationals living in The Gambia.
The Gambian president, who is putting his mandate at stake on December 4th, said the people he aimed were bold enough to write a letter to the Senegalese High Commissioner in the Gambia telling him that Senegalese nationals are meddling in Gambian politics.
According to Barrow, former Gambian ambassador in France, Dr. Sedat Jobe, who recently pledged allegiance to UDP, conveyed a delegation to the Senegalese High Commissioner in The Gambia, cautioning the Senegalese official to keep Senegalese away from Gambian politics.
“The delegation was led by someone they claim is a seasoned diplomat, Sidat Jobe. They went to the Senegalese ambassador and told him that Senegalese people are meddling in Gambian politics, and they want them to stay away. How many ambassadors do we have here? They specifically went to the Senegalese ambassador to attack him. What do they want? Senegal is our neighbor and Gambia’s most important development partner. We share a lot in common. Therefore, there should be peace between Senegal and us,” President Barrow told the chiefs and alkalolus.
Barrow aims at UDP and Ousainou Darboe.
In what looks like a veiled reference to his former political formation, the UDP, Barrow said: “However desperate you are to become president, there are boundaries. We were in the same political party. You were not this defiant. Why weren’t you abusing people or telling people they’re not Gambia citizens?”
Visibly emboldened by the cheering and clapping from his audience, President Barrow became more specific and clearly made an allusion to the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, even though he meticulously avoided his name. “My elder (Ousainou Darboe) is prompt at calling press conferences to contest everything that happens. ‘I will not accept this; I will not accept that. In a year, he had the number of press conferences he never held in 25 years. Even today, he just finished having a press conference“.
In his last shot and attempt to distance the chiefs and alkalolus from Ousainou Darboe, President Barrow said, “He is intimidating people when he is not yet a president. If such a person becomes president, you will see what he will do to us. But this country is yours,” Barrow told his audience.