Banjul, Gambia(PANA) - President Adama Barrow Sunday categorically stated as fatally false widespread and conflicting reports that he had assented the return of his predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, to The Gambia with guaranteed state protection and all privileges befitting a former head of state.
A statement received here Sunday by PANA said President Barrow wanted Gambians and the international community to know that he was keenly following the revelations before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commissions (TRRC) and could not, therefore, utter statements that might potentially be prejudicial to the Commission’s work such as his alleged promise of state protection and retirement privileges to Yahya Jammeh as the false report purports to convey.
PANA Friday, quoting local media, reported that President Barrow had said his predecessor Yahya Jammeh could return to the country but would be only welcomed as a private citizen, and that the state would offer him protection.
President Barrow made this remark at a meeting in Foni Sibanor West Coast Region as part of series of meetings he had in his Meet the People Tour.
He said the perception that Jammeh could become president after returning to the country should be taken as a joke, adding that the former president could only be allowed to come back to his country as a private citizen and nothing more.
“Former president can be allowed to come back to his country of origin and stay peacefully as a citizen but not to become a president again. I think this should be known to the people. He has to come back and we will provide him protection,” local media reported on Friday.
According to the statement from State House, President Barrow made statements about ex-President Jammeh at Berefet and Sibanorr villages in the Fonis West Coast Region last week but his utterances were purely hypothetical.
The statement stated that while on his annual “Presidential Meet The People Tour”, President Barrow told Gambians that even if President Jammeh were to return to The Gambia someday, he could never again be a president and could only live as an ordinary citizen and nothing else.
“President Barrow offered no protection or any privileges whatsoever as is being bandied around social media and some news outlets. It is totally false and very unfortunate that such a direct statement is deliberately mischaracterized for purely political reasons,” the statement said.
However, the statement said during the same meetings, President Barrow also alluded to conversations that transpired between him and Equatorial Guinea’s leader, President Obiang regarding ex-President Jammeh’s late mother’s burial and his (Barrow’s) magnanimity to facilitate that request.
According to the statement, President Barrow told the large crowds that Jammeh was shamed by his previous belligerence of denying two prominent citizens, Messrs. Bubacarr Michael Baldeh and Kukoi Samba Sanyang burial rights after they died in Dakar and Mali respectively.
Consequently, Hon. Bubacarr Michael Baldeh, a former parliamentarian and minister of state, and Sanyang, the leader of the 1981 failed coup d’etat, were buried in Medina Gunnas, Cassanance and Dakar respectively, the statement said.
According Barrow, even if President Jammeh’s late mother, Fatou Asombi Bojang, were to return home alive, he would have accorded her all the privileges befitting the mother of a former head of state.
Besides, the late Madam Bojang was a private citizen who never offended any Gambian and deserved nothing less than the best, President Barrow said.
-0- PANA MSS/RA 8Dec2019