IS THIS THE SAME M. A. BAH WHO IS NOW SUPPORTING BARROW?
By Moro Gaye
GAMBIA: PRESIDENT BARROW DOESN’T TRUST THE GAMBIAN ARMY-MA BAH; HE CALLS FOR ECOMIG’S WITHDRAWAL
Gambia’s former Interior Minister Momodou Alieu Bah AKA MA Bah has described what he calls “the current mistrust between President Adama Barrow and the Gambian military, as rather sad and very unfortunate.” Mr. Bah, speaking in an exclusive interview with Freedom Radio Gambia said it is his fervent belief that President Barrow doesn’t trust the Gambian military; hence that’s why his interaction with the army is very limited since assuming the mantle of leadership of this country. “I do not think that President Barrow had faith and trust in our military. If he does, he wouldn’t have isolated the army. It is about time for President Barrow to put faith and trust in our army. He should engage them regularly. Our security services need motivation. The morale in the army and other security sectors in the country is on its lowest ebb. And that’s not right. He is the commander-in-chief, he should learn to trust them,” Bah a former fired Army Brigadier General tells Freedom Radio Gambia.
Mr. Bah was removed from the military shortly after president Barrow assumed office. His severance package was paid by the new government. He has since moved on with his life.
He is now a petty trader. Bah is a native of Kombo Lamin. He was recently appointed Deputy party leader of dictator Yahya Jammeh’s APRC party.
Mr. Bah blames the rising crime rate in the country to lack of security, and low staff morale among Gambia’s security officers. He warns that in the absence of security, peace can hardly be achieved. Hence, he said, he deems it imperative to call on President Barrow to be proactive and help motivate the morale of our men and women in uniform.
“I think it is about time for ECOMIG to leave this country. Gambia’s security forces are more than capable of handling the country’s security. The current isolation of our soldiers is not the right thing to do. They are demotivated. They need encouragement and support from the president. The president should visit our barracks; interact with soldiers; dine; and dance with them if that what it will take to motivate them,” Bah remarked.
Mr. Bah said Gambia’s biggest threat is not coming from the exiled Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. He said the threat is instead within the country, as he cited the culture of intolerance, abuse of democratic tenets, and values, and lack of respect for the rule of law among citizens.
“Some people in this country do not fathom the meaning of democracy. Some folks think that democracy is about waking up in the morning and took on whatsapp and other social media platforms to rain insults at citizens they disagree with. They think democracy is about fighting in the streets, and say whatever you want. Democracy goes with responsibility. I very much fear for the future of this country. If the current social media abuse, disparaging and blackmailing of citizens is not stopped, it could plunge the Gambia in to a state of anarchy. There are folks, who do not have anything meaningful to do; beside spending the entire day on social media spewing lies and hatred against decent citizens,” he lamented.
Mr. Bah describes the former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh as a good man, and also a pious Muslim. He said the Barrow government should consider allowing Jammeh to return to the country, and peacefully retire at his home village of Kanilai.
“Yahya Jammeh is not a security threat. He is not thinking about destabilizing this country. He is a man of peace. The ex-officers who recently returned home from Equatorial Guinea are not security threat either. They are Gambians, and they have the right to return home. My biggest concern is the internal threat in this country. People can hardly live in peace and harmony. There is infighting all over the place. Tolerance is becoming a rare thing in this country. We should respect each other; have respect for the law; and be tolerant. The current intolerance could implode if we are not mindful,” said Mr. Bah adding that the media played a role in the Rwandan genocide.
He cautioned the Barrow government to take note of of the imploding, hateful and polarizing messages trafficked from the Gambia on social media by Gambians on a daily messages. He warns that if action is not taken; such hate monger could plunge the country into instability. He said Gambians on the ground are angry for reasons best known to them. He also said lack of job is driving many into becoming cyber bullies.
Thus, he advised his country men to wisely use social media than abusing it. He said at the APRC level, they have started sensitizing their members to avoid circulating messages on social media that could spread hate or violence in the country.
“In the interest of peace, I am appealing to the Barrow government and Gambians in general to learn to forgive and forget. We should reconcile our differences. We are one family. What has happened; had happened; we should turn a new page, and work towards the development of this country. Hate is not the solution. Peace is the solution,” he said.
Mr. Bah also talked about the Busumbala incident, which left some people injured and properties destroyed. He said he was part of the APRC convoy when the incident happened. He said some youths of Busumbala attacked their convey, which led to the political fracas. Bah said the APRC leadership have been interviewed by the police and they have given their own version of the story.
The former Interior Minister branded the UDP as a party that is discouraging others from joining them. He said due to the intolerance of the UDP supporters, and penchant disregard for respect for the individual, many people are not comfortable joining the UDP. This, he said, has compromised UDP’s prospects of becoming a ruling government in the foreseeable future adding no one wants to associate with a party that discourage others to join them.
“ The UDP is not an accommodative party. They tend to discourage people from joining them. This is evident on the hostile nature of their supporters. They rain insults at their critics and political opponents. I do not think the UDP can win elections in this country. Gambians will not vote for the UDP. People are afraid of associating themselves with the UDP. No decent human being wants violence. It is my belief that the APRC is the biggest party in the Gambia. The APRC will make a comeback. We will replace Barrow at the end of his term. Our party is surging,” he said.