A UDP member that was jailed together with the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed deep disappointment with the Barrow administration, accusing them of neglect and nepotism.
Mamadou Fatty was arrested in April last year for taking part in a protest led by UDP leader Ousainou Darboe following the arrest and torture-death of an opposition activist, Ebrima Solo Sandeng by the regime of ex-dictator, Yahya Jammeh.
Since Jammeh’s defeat and their release, Fatty said the new administration of President Adama Barrow has neglected most of them while favoring a few ex-inmates with top government jobs.
“We did not get anything from them while some who were at Mile 2 with us are now enjoying and living in air-conditioned homes. Ramadan came and we did not receive even a cup of sugar. Tobaski, we did not even get a ram,” said Fatty.
“They did not do anything for us and those that shied away from Ousianou Darboe and the UDP during the protest are the people that are being appointed to high positions, while those of us that made sacrifices are pushed aside.”
Several opposition activists went into hiding and stayed away from attracting any attention that may lead to their arrest. Fatty with Darboe and at least a dozen others were convicted and jailed.
Former political prisoners like Lamin Dibba and Momodou Sanneh have become state ministers and senior members of the Parliament.
But President Adama Barrow has said he would fill positions in his administration based on experience and qualifications. The coalition is made up of seven opposition parties and appointments have been distributed between the parties.
The jailing of Fatty, Darboe with other UDP supporters and leaders gave rise to Mr. Barrow to become the UDP’s presidential nominee and then the candidate of the coalition that handed Jammeh a shocking defeat.
Ousainou Darboe has recently appointed several UDP supporters as protocol officers in Gambian embassies in key missions in the U.S., UK, France and Saudi Arabia.
At least three people jailed with Darboe during the protests that sparked anger towards Jammeh have died. Two of them, Lamin Marong and Ebrima Ceesay have died after their release of suspected health complications they suffered while being jailed.