Former Minister of Interior Mai Ahmad Fatty has thanked supporters for giving him a lift during his stint as the country’s law enforcement chief, expressing how grateful he is and what a privilege it has been for him.
Fatty, who has been seen as a strongman but very astute and proactive said he remains optimistic about the future of the country as supporters request a reversal of the decision by President Adama Barrow.
“It has been a privilege to have served as Minister of Interior of our country, The Gambia for the last nine months. I have nothing but optimism about the future of our nation,” he said. “A better Gambia will be engendered soon enough. Thank you for the support you all have given me during my time as Interior Minister.”
“Faith in the Almighty God is our strongest pillar of hope and strength. Service to humanity is service to God. The rare opportunity to serve one’s country faithfully, is a rare honor and privilege.”
Fatty was canned from Mr. Barrow’s cabinet on Friday and redeployed to an unnamed foreign service mission. The State House neither gave reasons for his dismissal nor say what his new role at the foreign mission would be.
A trained human rights lawyer and critic of the authoritarian Jammeh, Mai Fatty is the first minister in the coalition government to have been fired since Barrow took power about eight months ago.
The sacking of the interior minister is considered a big statement from the easy-going president whose critics said is too weak to make decisions.
Fatty, the leader of the Gambia Moral Congress, was one of the most heavily criticized ministers in the Barrow government and was alleged to have taken bribes from a foreign company that got a contract to make Gambia’s national identity cards and passports.
Fatty denied he had taken any money from Belgium’s Semlex, but in another controversy, he reportedly prevailed over the police to deny some young people a demonstration permit.
The group called Occupy Westfield had wanted to protest the poor electricity situation in metropolitan Gambia.
However, less than an hour after Mai was fired, news emerged that the Occupied Westfield has been given a permit to go ahead with their rally.
Meanwhile, the country’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou has been assigned to oversee the Interior Ministry until further notice.
(Reporting & Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Writing by Mustapha Darboe)