Momodou Dahaba, a strong supporter of President Adama Barrow’s National People’s Party (NPP) has accused the Fatu Network, Kerr Fatou and other Gambian media houses of lying against him. The accusations followed a story reported by the two media houses, claiming that Dahaba was arrested in connection with a land dispute case. The Fatu Network, in particular, had claimed that Dahaba was arrested by the police for allegedly obtaining up to D600,000 by false pretense.
“Well-placed sources told The Fatu Network Dahaba took D600,000 from a woman in exchange for a plot of land in Bijilo. One person familiar with the issue said Dahaba never owned the land,” the online blog reported.
Reacting to the story, during a phone conversation with the Freedom Newspaper on Saturday, Mr. Dahaba said: “I was never arrested by the police. Arrested for what? The Fatu Network story is a blatant lie, it is fabrication, there is no iota of truth in their reportage. I have never been arrested by the police,” Dahaba told me.
Mr. Dahaba has also accused the media of disparaging his character. He said the Fatu Network piece was not only slanted, but devoid of the truth.
“There is always another side to any given story. The Fatu Network reported a one side story. The paper never contacted me to verify the veracity of the information that they received about me. Their piece was a hit piece purely intended to assassinate my character, and reputation. Fatu Camara has my phone number. She is the publisher of the Fatu Network. I expect any responsible journalist to call people that you intend to publish about before reporting the story. This was never done. I know what is going on. If I talk The Gambia would be shaken. Their lies and spear campaign will not move me. I am a decent man, throughout my life, I have never been arrested or questioned by the police,” Dahaba further told me.
Dahaba further noted that no Gambian is immune from police arrest, and if he were arrested, he wouldn’t shy from it.
“They are talking about Dahaba being arrested. As stated earlier, I was never arrested. Is arrest something new to them? Was Nelson Mandela not arrested? How many people have been arrested in this country? Was Ousainou Darboe not arrested? Look, these people are hiding behind politics to settle scores. For the record: I haven’t done anything that should warrant my arrest. If they don’t know, they should ask. Speculations, fabrications and lies would not take them anywhere,” he added.
Mr. Dahaba admitted that he had a land dispute with someone, who is believed to a supporter of the United Democratic Party (UDP). The person concerned, he said, lives in France. He maintained that he (Dahaba) owned the disputed land.
“I owned the land in question. I will get back to you in coming days to shed light on the matter. In fact, I am going to organize a press conference to debunk their pathological lies and smear campaign,” he said.
Dahaba had earlier granted an interview to one Dr. Taal of the NPP. In that interview, Dahaba said he will never forgive Fatu Camara for the “lies” that her paper published about him.
“I am not going to forgive Fatu Camara for the lies that her paper had published about me. They have lied against me. I was never arrested. She has my phone number. She could have called and verify the information, but they went ahead and publish fake story about me,” Dahaba told Dr. Taal.
Dodou Sano, President Barrow’s political adviser, had to intervene to plead on behalf of Fatu Camara, “for Dahaba to forgive our sister Fatu Camara.” Mr. Sano then pleaded with Dahaba to let go and move on.
“I will accept your plea Dodou, but I want Fatu Camara to call and formally apologize to me. She should apologize to me. They have lied against me,” Dahaba said.
With regards to the Kerr Fatou network, Dahaba said that, that network had also betrayed its journalistic responsibility. Like Fatu Network, he said, Kerr Fatou too had also published a one-sided story without verify the facts.
“Fatou Touray couldn’t believe when she spoke to me on the phone. She thought that I was arrested. Her reporter called me after publishing that fake story. I hung up the phone on him. I told him not to call me. The damage has already been done. They lied against me,” he said.
“Pa Nderry, I am not the type who would lie, or steal. I heard them saying that I am going to court on Monday. Monday is coming. I am not going to court. They are lying. Thank you for contacting me, this is what a responsible journalist does,” he told me.
He added that one going to the police station doesn’t mean an arrest. He has called out the Fatu network and the Kerr Fatou for what he called their biased and unprofessional reporting.
” I was never avail the right to reply. This country is heading towards a dangerous path. Anyone can spread a lie. I am disappointed with Fatu Camara and Fatou Touray, especially Fatou Touray. She is my friend,” he said.