Mai Ahmad Fatty, the leader of the pro-coalition government said he will venture into the opposition stronghold of Foni if need be to drum up support for his party.
Fatty, a former senior advisor and cabinet minister to President Adama Barrow is loathed by most in the southwestern region for cracking down on opposition protests last year.
The Fonis has been considered to be a “no-go” area for Jammeh’s opponents. It has been avoided by the then-opposition groups during the Jammeh era. They united to defeat Jammeh in an electoral upset that surprised pundits.
“I see no reason why anyone should consider Foni a no-go area for any politician. That used to be the days of the dictatorship. Today, The Gambia is free for every Gambian and if I intend to visit any part of Foni I will go,” said Fatty.
“I am absolutely confident that there is nothing that can stop me from going to any part of the country at any time I so desire and I am confident that nobody will stand in my way.”
The Foni region is home to the country’s ousted dictator, Yahya Jammeh, who continues to enjoy great support in his native homeland amid corruption investigations against the ex-military leader.
Post-Jammeh protests left dozens injured and at least one person dead. Fatty blamed the Jammeh supporters for Haruna Jatta’s shooting death and accused them of brandishing locally made rifles on security forces.
President Barrow has made an attempt to charm opposition supporters in the region, urging them to embrace the spirit of the New Gambia ahead of the country’s local government polls that will test the popularity of the parties that backed his candidacy.