By Sarjo Brito
Gambians in the diaspora have taken to social media to condemn the Gambian leader following a recent comment he made at a rally in Brikama where he asked his supporters to ignore his critics in the diaspora, alleging that they are being financed by political parties in the Gambia to launch smear campaigns against him.
The President referred to his diaspora critics as ‘jobless’ and ‘hypocrites’ who are hellbent on sowing discord among Gambians.
“Ignore them, these people in the diaspora talking. They don’t even have what to eat. They don’t also even have a chicken coop in The Gambia here.
A lot of them are hypocrites. A lot of them are travelling with diplomatic passport and it’s me who gave it to them. But in all their travel, they go character-assassinate Gambia and me,’’ President Barrow said.
Barrow’s comments have since been met with strong reactions from some members of the diaspora community. One Facebook user described President Barrow’s comment as unfair, especially looking back at the crucial role the diaspora played during the 2016 presidential election and the subsequent political impasse which led to the removal of former President Yahya Jammeh.
“In regard to the removal of Jammeh, the diaspora played a crucial role in putting money together. There were groups like the Gambia Democracy Fund who pumped in a lot of money and other different organisations as well.
Even during the impasse, people like Nenneh Loulanne Faye and Babou Njie Sallah were canvassing for funds to help refugees in Senegal. I think Barrow is unfair to the diasporans.”
Another commenter added:
“The diaspora has contributed far more than any development partner or constituent in supporting their families, pumping the needed finance into the economy, taking up philanthropic work in areas of education, healthcare and even in times of national emergencies.’’
The Gambian diaspora has always been credited for assuming a greater role in financing basic needs and economic activities through remittances. In 2020, total remittance inflows reached a record peak according to the Central Bank Governor, Buah Saidy. The governor revealed that the volume of transactions in the foreign exchange market increased to $2.4 billion in the 12 months to the end of June 2021 from US$2.1billion a year ago.