A former Gambian army officer has accused the sacked Interior Minister Mai Fatty of job discrimination. Keita Saidy works with the US prison system. He told Freedom Radio Gambia’s Civic Education Program that he was discriminated at by Mr. Fatty, when Coalition government leaders including president Adama Barrow, agreed that he should be appointed to head Gambia’s prison system, but Fatty allegedly overruled the president’s decision.
Citing a conversation, he had with Halifa Sallah, the former Spokesman for the Coalition government, Saidy said Mr. Sallah was impressed with his educational credentials and expertise in the field of prison administration during his meeting with him at his office. Sallah immediately phoned Amie Bojang Sissoho, president Barrow’s Press Secretary to ask her to make an arraignment so that Saidy could meet the president for possible consideration for a job at the prison.
Saidy reported to the State House, where he met president Barrow, Mai Fatty and other people in the president’s office. Mr. Barrow then told Mai Fatty that he wanted to appoint Keita Saidy as Director of prison.
According to Mr. Saidy, Mai Fatty’s reaction to the president’s statement was not cordial at all. He said Fatty then started asking him all kinds of phony questions; asking Saidy where was he during the struggle to oust the former dictator Jammeh; and his security background among others.
Mr. Saidy then told him that he was in the Gambia during the political impasse; that he also dug a borehole for the people Faraba-bantang. He also told Fatty that prison management was part of his field of expertise, and that his educational qualifications speaks for itself.
Fatty, he said, then tried to backtrack from his initial hostile reaction to Barrow’s statement—recommending him for a prison Director. He said Fatty told him that he was impressed with his educational achievements and job expertise after going through his papers.
Mr. Saidy left the State House with the hope that pretty soon, he will be appointed prison Director as recommended by president Barrow, but that was not case. Mr. Fatty ensured that he never gotten the job.
“While at home, I received a phone call from Alhagie Ceesay, president Barrow’s Chief of Protocol, who told me, that the president wanted to see me. When I arrived at the State House, the president told me that I have been appointed Director of prison. Mr. Barrow then asked me to go and see the Interior Minister Mai Fatty, so that my appointment can formalized,” Keita Saidy told Freedom Radio.
“ I was accompanied by my wife to the Ministry of Interior. When I arrived at the Ministry, I told them that I was referred to the Minister Mai Fatty, by the president. The receptionist then phoned Mai Fatty in my presence to inform him that we were at the lobby waiting. Mai Fatty, then asked the reception to pass the phone to me. He told me on the phone that I am the Minister of Interior and not president Barrow. I decide what goes here and nobody. I will appoint whoever I wanted to appoint,” Saidy said adding that he left the Ministry of Interior with a heavy heart.
He added that Mai Fatty never even bothered to see him in person. He only spoke to him on the phone.
“I was scheduled to meet the president again, where he told me on arrival that I was not looking happy. I told him that what is happening is unacceptable. I also told him that how can a cabinet minister insubordinate the president. I told the president that I just don’t get it. This was after Mai Fatty’s insubordination against the president’s instructions to hire me. He refused to follow the president’s instructions to hire me,” Saidy added.
According to Saidy, Fatty had reserved the position of Prison Director for one Mr. Manneh. He said after disobeying president’s Barrow’s instructions, Fatty appointed Mr. Manneh to run Gambia’s prison system, even though he said he has better qualifications than Mr. Manneh.
“When I explained the matter to Ousainou Darboe, he told me, that what happened was a clear case of nepotism. Darboe couldn’t understand why I was not hired—given my qualifications. I was told by CDS Masaneh Kinteh that he hasn’t seen anyone who is more qualified than me for the post of prison Director,” he said.
Keita Saidy said he left the Gambia Armed Forces once he was advised by one of his superiors Mr. Fofona to quit otherwise he risked being harmed by the former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. Hence, he decided to resettle in the United States.
Mai Fatty could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.