Gambia’s Minister of Youths and Sports Henry Gomez rebutted reports that he has German citizenship.
“I do not have a dual citizenship. I only have a permanent residential permit in Germany,” he told senior Gambian journalist, Mustapha Darboe.
Those with dual citizenship are not allowed to hold certain senior government positions in the Gambia, sparking a debate about his eligibility.
Gomez is the leader of the GPDP party and had backed the UDP’s Ousainou Darboe in two elections that were lost to former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Gomez joined the coalition that President Adama Barrow led in the polls. Barrow defeated a self-style old-school African dictator Yahya Jammeh in country’s December 1 presidential elections.
Gomez’s appointment to the youths and sports ministry is seen as an approach to help mitigate the migration crisis. Thousands of Gambians fled economic difficulties and government repression journeying through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean to reach Europe.
Gomez was a migrant having stayed in France briefly before moving to Germany in 1986. He worked in a janitorial company before starting his own, Magom Cleaning Company. The company now hires at least 100 people.
He showed up in the political scene in 2004. Though he was a late comer into politics in Gambia compared to the leading political figures in the coalition that toppled Yahya Jammeh, Henry has had a good following from Gambian youths.
His most popular political slogan: ebaay yeh baloo, a Mandinka phrase for equality among people has rocked the small nation in 2011 when he joined a coalition call the United Front.