The recently sacked Gambian protocol officer at The Gambian mission in Jeddah Ebrima Dibba says he was allegedly offered four million dalasis (D4 million) by President Adama Barrow sometime ago, so that he (Dibba) can shift his allegiance to him (President Barrow) and not Ousainou Darboe of the United Democratic Party (UDP). Dibba, who was speaking in an interview with Saihou Saidily, a UDP operative, claimed that he turned down the President’s monetary offer. He further alleged that the likes of Alkali Conteh and co, including President Barrow, wanted him to be part of the plot to undermine Darboe, but he refused.
According to Ebrima Dibba, President Barrow, initially doesn’t want him to serve in the Foreign Service, following his appointment. He says Barrow wanted him to stay in The Gambia, so that he can help him (Barrow) to promote his own political agenda.
“I told him that Gambian salary cannot sustain me and my family. The President then told me, that he was willing to give me D4 million dalasis, so that I can open a shop in The Gambia. He said he wanted me, to help him, promote his own political agenda, but I refused,” Dibba claimed.
“Alkali Conteh had tried on numerous occasions to convince me to accept the President’s offer. He even told me, that Ousainou Darboe, do not have my interest at heart. Alkali further told me, that the position of protocol and welfare officer, was too inferior for me, and he blamed Ousainou in my presence. I told them that I am content with the position that was offered to me,” Dibba remarked in the local Mandinka language.
Dibba claimed that he used to talk to President Barrow regularly on the phone. He also claimed that he had advised Barrow to live up to his promise to The Gambian people and avoid any action that would discredit his legacy as a President.
“I remember Barrow telling me, in one of my conversations with him, that the Presidency is sweet, and it is not easy to quit. He says the way it is difficult for one to ascend to the Presidency, and equally, in his view, it is difficult for one to quit the Presidency, because of the fringe benefits associated with it. He told me, that he wants to prolong his stay in power. He said he will not quit the Presidency only for him to receive a D50,000-dalasi pension. He further told me, that the only way to discourage self-perpetual rule, is to create an attractive retirement benefit package for the Presidency. He went further to cite the ongoing constitutional reform program. He said increasing the retirement benefit for present and future Presidents, should be included in the upcoming constitutional changes; so that self perpetual rule can be discouraged,” Dibba quoted President Barrow as having told him.
Dibba says his relationship with Barrow became sour, following his advice to Barrow not to deviate from the set agenda, which brought him to power. He recalled both Barrow and Hamat Bah, the leader of the NRP, and Tourism Minister, telling him, that his party leader Ousainou Darboe, should give chance to Barrow to lead the country. He says Barrow stopped talking to him, upon realizing that he couldn’t convince him to join his team.
Dibba was fired from the Foreign Service, following his recent declaration of support and allegiance to the sacked Vice President Ousainou Darboe. He claimed that some officials in Barrow’s government were trying to convince him to apologize to the President, so that his sacking can be rescinded, but he refused.
Dibba also claimed that he knew Barrow not long ago. He says Barrow was not a prominent member of the UDP for him to know him.
He warns that if Gambians failed to stand up to Barrow, the country risked going back to another dictatorship. He says Barrow had a different agenda from developing The Gambia.
Dibba alleged that President Barrow wasn’t happy, when he told him that funds that were donated to the UDP, should be deposited into the party’s bank account. He said he was told by Barrow that it was okay for him (Barrow) to divert such funds into accounts that are outside the party.
He recalled an instance, in which a particular businessman had donated millions of dalasis to the UDP, but Barrow allegedly decided to hijack the funds.
According to Dibba, Barrow, thinks that he can use the Presidency to solicit funds to consolidate himself in power. He alleged that Barrow doesn’t see anything wrong with him accepting material and monetary donations from philanthropists with ulterior motives.
He even says Barrow told him personally that the amount of monetary donations he (Barrow) received today, he couldn’t get it yesterday before ascending into the Presidency.
“He told me, that the people giving him money are not doing it just for the sake of their own magnanimity. He further told me, that his donors expect something from him in return. He admitted to me, that there are more people today donating him money and materials because they wanted something from his Presidency in return,” Dibba further alleged.
The Barrow State House could not be reached for comment to confirm the veracity of Ebrima Dibba’s wild claims.