By Alieu SK Manjang
I am inviting you to tell me what you infer from this statement of Honorable Mai Fatty in his response to Honorable Halif Sallah. Unfortunately this statement is apparently being distorted by some supporters of Halifa as it is reflected in this comments by one of them:
” Hon.Mai Fatty has confirmed to the NAMs that they have learned lesson with respect to the incident of Kanilai,and regretted and they have learned from what the Hon.Halifa Sallah have said during his press conference. They have taken his advice and they working according to Halifa’s advise, Halifa being the vice chairman of the Defense and Security council”.
However, this is the excerpt from Honorable’s response which is being misinterpreted:
” But certainly, Honorable member of Serrekunda is the vice chair of the parliamentary committee on defense and security; and certainly he made statements outside that committee. We learned it in the media. And Honorable member’s comment, that he made in the media, is also part of the lessons we learned from. They are all perspectives, and we are open.
This is your government; we did it rightly or wrongly you tell us and we get it corrected. There is no THEM and US; the legislative is one of the three arms of the government. We have one government; the legislative is not a government by itself. This government is under one presidency. The judiciary is not a government by itself; all these three constitute one government. So we should have a common vision, common purpose and a common interest in resolving our common problems. And that should be the approach, as the Honorable will say: one Gambia, one nation, one destiny. That is the approach, and that is how we see it”.
While everyone has its own interpretation of this text, it should not peeled off from precedents that shaped Mai and Halifa’s approach to Kanilai incidence. To fully absorb what Mai is putting to Halifa, you have to reflect upon how Halifa portrayed the Kanilai incidence in his press conference. Watching or listening to that conference, one will certainly understand that Mai is reminding Halifa that it is not how you presented the issue in that press conference : them vs us. He is also implicitly regretting that Halifa made his comments outside the defense and security committee of the parliament. To this end, Halifa is part of the government led by one president, thus, they suppose to have one purpose and interest as far as resolving our common problems are concerned. In its totality, my understanding is that the minister was reproaching Halifa on his handling of the issue in that particular press conference.
Evidently, the Minister has explicitly indicated that Halifa statement in that conference is “one of the many lessons that they have learned from. But, it should not be understood that whatever the government learned from this incidence is exclusively reduced to all what Halifa said in that conference. The Minister’s statement that: one of the lessons, means that they have drawn lessons from other sources. This included their engagement with communities in Foni and stakeholders from inside and outside the government. This fact was explicitly stated by the Minister in his response to Halifa ( watch the video from 3:35.28 to 3:38:08). The fact that other oppositions parties ( APRC and GDC) held press conferences to show their stand towards the event is suggestive that Mai could have learned similar lessons from these press conferences.
More importantly, it will be disastrous to the reputation of Halifa that he talked for almost three hours without mentioning any meaningful statement or point that considered by the government.
Finally, I think the Honorable Minister gave a unmeasurable lesson to Halifa and to all politicians that they are not infallible beings; and that it is not an indication of a political weakness to acknowledge that they are taking lessons from each other. I hope that one day, at least, honorable Halifa will prove to the Gambians that he is fallible like any human beings, and that it is a.m virtue to acknowledge and appreciate others actions, no mater how divergent his views and their views are.
To conclude, Mai has proved him as the able minister who can handle our security and defense affairs; he equally proved to many that, contrary to comments on social media, that he is a humble to respectful politicians, who respect his “perceived opponent”.
Let Gambians be reassured that we are in safe hands as far as our security is concerned.