The United Democratic Party condemns the repressible and divisive comments that Hamat Bah, the Minister of Tourism and Culture has made at the State House inBanjul in the presence of the President and Cabinet Ministers on Saturday 17th October 2020.
Beyond the national outrage and all-round castigation of Mr. Bah’s irresponsible remarks. UDP wishes to draw the attention of our compatriots to the following salient points:
UDP is deeply disappointed that the State House: asymbol of national unity and sovereignty of the Gambia which is maintained by Gambian Taxpayersmoney is now a partisan stumping ground where the President and his acolytes congregate to waste scarce national resources in the time of COVID19.
UDP is concerned that under President Adama Barrow;a Cabinet Minster can stand at a political rally and make serious allegations about systemic discrimination against a Gambian community without a shred of evidence. What is the modus operandi of the Barrow Government the rule of law requires that due process isfollowed in all cases?
Firstly, if the allegations, the Minister has made are true then it is a significant indictment of the Barrow Government for incompetence and or failure to protect Gambian individuals and communities in the enjoyment of their human rights.
The proper thing to do where there are serious allegations of rights violations or systemic abuse of power is to investigate and establish the facts of the case not to stand on a podium and make incendiary comments and baseless allegations. This is a nation of law and not demagoguery.
Secondly systemic discrimination against any Gambian individual and or community must be condemn by all Gambians and the President and the Cabinet must do their jobs and take all necessary corrective actions as soon as such systemic abuses are exposed and or complaints are made. This is what the rule of law is all about.
Thirdly systemic discrimination happens within an institutional context that is predicated on the rule of law and the institution mentioned in the unsubstantiated allegations of Minister Bah is the Immigration Department which is under the purview of the Ministry of Interior. The Minister of Interior is a cabinet colleague of Minister Bah.
Therefore, the most appropriate forum to discuss allegations of this gravity is the Cabinet Room and not a political rally at the State House. Regrettably this Government has on several occasions demonstratedthat it is not really committed to the rule of law, the ineptitude and dereliction of duty of President Barrow and his Cabinet in handling the affairs of the nation is scandalous in the past two years.
However if the allegations are baseless and the Minister has ulterior motives for speaking in the name of a whole community and at the same time take nasty swipes at Gambians from other communities then a political rally would be the best place for a politician and Cabinet Minister like Mr. Bah to make derogatory and divisive comments in order to score meaningless populist points and sow the seeds of mistrust and disaffection for the institutions of our nation.
For the record UDP has complete faith and trust in Gambian institutions because oftentimes the professionals leading these institutions have distinguished themselves outside the Gambia and have come home to contribute their quota to national development. As leaders we owe these professionals a debt of gratitude.
Instead of acknowledging the good work of these professionals are doing Mr. Bah is making bogus statements with the malicious intent to discredit hardworking professionals to keep his job in a completely discredited Government. Take note Gambians are watching You.
After his pathetic attempt to double down on his vile comments Mr. Hamat Bah should do the honourable thing and resign.
The setback Gambians have experienced with the draft Constitution in September and recent debacle with the Central Bank Governor’s unlawful transfer to the Ministry of Trade add to the list of failures of President Barrow. The Gambian people have seen how woefully the Barrow Government has failed at institutional reforms.
Ousainu ANM Darboe
Secretary General & Party Leader