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Gambia’s former VP: “I felt betrayed by the president”

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Gambia’s former Vice President, Fatoumatta Tambajang, blames the United Democratic Party (UDP) leader, Ousainou Darboe, and Foreign Minister Dr. Mommodou Tangara, for her sacking by President Adama Barrow in 2018.

“For me, at the beginning I never knew I was removed. It was important for me to know why I was removed, and I went to the president. What he said is he removed me because I have written a letter to the UN with the acting president’s signature and that it was unconstitutional and undiplomatic. That was the advice he got from his present minister of Foreign Affairs and former Vice President, Ousainou Darboe.

“The pinnacle of the matter is that the Foreign Minister, Dr Tangara, had an issue with me. We had travelled to America with 32 000 dollars for two weeks. Then he was at the UN and the accountant general transferred money to their account for my two weeks’ accommodation, transportation, logistics and administrative support,” the former Vice President told reporters.

Upon return home after a one-week sojourn in the U.S, Fatoumatta Tambajang in her telling launched efforts to account for how the 32 000 dollars was spent in order to retire any residual sums to the treasury.

And the plot thickens, as the then Gambian representative to the UN Mommodou Tangara rolled off figures to her that seemed to stretch the limits of credibility.

She explains that “When my permanent secretary went to him, he said to my permanent secretary he had spent 21 000 dollars on vehicle rentals. I told my permanent secretary ‘please tell him I want that money back to the treasury’. In between, he came and said he (Tangara) went to the car rental company and they decided to give us a discount of 5 000 dollars and we pay 18 000 dollars.

“I asked my permanent secretary ”does it make sense?”He used that to make a vendetta against me with the president. And telling him I was eyeing his position…because he also mentioned it somewhere and I heard it”.

Despite recently offering support for President Barrow to serve out the constitutionally mandated five years instead of three years agreed in the highly contentious political coalition agreement, she indicated the miasma of betrayal by the president still lingers.

She recalled, with a tinge of regret, “I went to the president and explained to him. For me it’s just politics. I don’t know why the president believes him. Today is the first time I have had the opportunity to say it. I felt betrayed by the president, His Excellency Adama Barrrow”.

Since her firing in 2018, this was her first public appearance where she had the guts to share her side of the dismissal story with Gambians. Many citizens applauded President Barrow for firing her, accusing her of inefficacy and feet-dragging over pertinent national issues at the time.