District chiefs and village heads in The Gambia’s provincial regions said they have been coerced into doing favors of the United Democratic Party, despite calls by President Adama Barrow for neutrality.
They are afraid of losing their authority if they do not support the United Democratic Party, said Mai Ahmad Fatty, who was on tour in the country’s eastern provinces.
Fatty, a coalition partner that was ousted from Barrow’s unity government said the local leaders feel that if they are not part of the UDP, then they are not part of the government.
“They were worried that if you are not UDP then you are not part of the government,” said Fatty, who made an effort to make them understand how the system is meant to work under the new dispensation in the country.
“I was also told by some district authorities that although they were asked not to interfere into political matters they would receive calls from a certain party hierarchy telling them to do one or two things in their favor or else another way, so it was important that we are on the ground to make the people understand what government policy is all about.”
Fatty has backed the UDP is at least two elections but has recently been making political maneuvers to spur his popularity and that of his party, the Gambia Moral Congress.
Fatty’s GMC party has been a tied to the UDP. Not a lot of people knew about the existence of the party even after Fatty served as President Barrow’s senior advisor and security minister.
The human rights lawyer’s fame spurred for taking a strong stance against opposition protests in the country’s southwestern Foni region but ended up being accused of exhibiting strongman behaviors in the aftermath of an opposition protesters death and crackdown on tinted glasses.