H.E President Adama Barrow with members of the Jammeh family at State House.
By Buba Gagigo
During a visit to State House by former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh’s family, President Adama Barrow disclosed that Senegalese President Macky Sall had informed him that Jammeh was crying and scared when he called to have his mother’s remains repatriated from Equatorial Guinea.
President Barrow recounted his efforts to foster unity and respect for former presidents, highlighting the moment when Jammeh’s mother passed away. At the time of her passing, he was attending a meeting in Togo, and since there were few Muslims in the vicinity of her demise, Jammeh was concerned. The president of Equatorial Guinea ( his host) was also present at the Togo meeting.
Barrow recounted in Mandinka, “I made considerable efforts to foster unity and ensure that former presidents were accorded the respect they deserved. When Jammeh’s mother passed away, I was in a meeting in Togo, far from the location of her demise, where there were few Muslims. His host the president of Equatorial Guinean was also at our meeting. Jammeh called to inform him of his mother’s passing, expressing the situation and his desire for his mother’s body to be brought back to the Gambia.”
According to President Barrow, it was challenging to find someone in Equatorial Guinea to handle the deceased’s body.
“Jammeh contacted the Equatorial Guinea president, who, in turn, enlisted the help of some Malian businessmen. He did not inform me directly but informed other presidents about the situation during our meeting, urging them to talk to me. However, one of them suggested involving Macky Sall, who is my brother and was present at the meeting, to speak to me,” Barrow added.
“Macky informed me that President Jammeh’s mother had passed away, mentioning that President Jammeh was scared and in tears, wishing for her body to be repatriated to the Gambia. I responded by emphasizing that his mother was not to blame and that my decision was clear. It was a very easy decision for me. Has President Jammeh ever thought of living in exile with his mother? Who has ever thought of that? On that day only I, President Barrow, could resolve this issue, and I did,” President Barrow said.
President Adama Barrow also shared that the government had confiscated all of General Saul Badjie’s properties, including where his mother currently resides. However, he assured the gathering that the elderly woman would not be evicted during his presidency.
“All of General Badjie’s properties have been seized, including the one where his mother is staying. I have made it clear that she will not be evicted while I am in office. The same principle applies to President Jammeh’s compound in Kanilai; his people will not be evicted as long as I am president,” he affirmed.
Former President Yahya Jammeh’s family expressed their gratitude to President Adama Barrow during their visit to the State House after President Barrow had visited the Jammeh family in Kanilai before the 2021 presidential election. President Barrow clarified that his visit to Kanilai was not initially part of his agenda, but he felt it was essential to visit the Jammeh family, stating, “There was a lot of commotion when I went there, and people had plenty to say. But I have a guiding principle; there is no feud between me and Jammeh. This State House is not my family’s compound, nor is it Jammeh Kunda or Barrow Kunda; it is Gambia Kunda. I did not end Jammeh’s presidency; God did. I may not have the authority to end his presidency.”
President Barrow described Jammeh as one of the most powerful presidents in West Africa, a fact that is still evident today. He said that even now, when he travels to other places, people know how powerful Jammeh was. He is still scared to board some of Jammeh’s large vehicles.
Barrow said that Jammeh has left, but his power is still felt. He said that whoever God has destined to be president is good, and there is a reason why they are put in that position. The presidency is a borrowed seat.
Barrow said that not everyone will love a president, but that is a fact. That is why he gives Jammeh the same respect as the former president, and he gives Jawara the same respect. He said that he also wants to be given the same respect when he leaves office.
Barrow said that there are four to five former presidents in Nigeria today, and that is a good example. He said that no matter how small a president is, the person is still powerful. For a president to be comfortable and accept to leave power in peace when they see the example in Nigeria, it makes them not be scared. It is not about money.
Barrow said that despite removing Jammeh from power, he understood that Jammeh was not prepared for it. He said that Jammeh was not prepared for anyone to remove him, especially President Barrow. “He was not prepared for it, but today, if you asked Jammeh who his president is, he would say President Barrow.”
President Barrow made these remarks at the State House on Sunday when former president Yahya Jammeh’s family visited him.