It was 8:30 am on Monday morning at the State House. We were at the President’s Office waiting for the Gambian leader to arrive.
After nearly one hour sitting in the office, with the AC on full blast, Amie Bojang-Sissoho suddenly entered saying “H.E is coming, H.E is coming! Are you people ready?” Before we could respond, President Barrow entered, in a blue kaftan.
What’s On-Gambia: Asalamalekun, Mr President!
Barrow:How are you? So you guys are What’s On-Gambia? (Laughs)
Can we start?
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Slow, friendly and appreciative.
Are you slow, Mr President?
Can you please delete that?
Ok, don’t mind. Gambians know I am not slow. Do you think a slow person could defeat Yahya Jammeh and his junglers?
Where were you during Jammeh’s last years in power?
Where were you?
Somewhere in Europe. Where were you, Mr President?
I was actively involved in the fight to end Jammeh’s tyranny and bring real democracy to The Gambia. It wasn’t easy, but my party, UDP was determined to poke the former president in both eyes and flush him out of the State House. As you know, there was no democracy in our country. We were led for 22 years by a power-crazed egomaniac that was dragging the country backwards.
Are you still a member of the UDP?
(Laughs) what do you think?
Mr President, are you still a member of the UDP?
I joined the UDP shortly after my return from England and was an executive member for many years. I took a break from the party to lead the Coalition that brought Jammeh’s 22-year-old rule to an end. To be honest, UDP is still in my blood.
Are you planning to start your own party?
I can’t answer that question.
Why the outburst against Dr Ismaila Ceesay during your recent press conference?
Some of our so-called intellectuals are real bonkers.
What’s the meaning of bonkers, Mr President?
Can you please allow me to finish?
Thank you! Sometimes, I develop a shiver at the thought of what will become of The Gambian when people like Dr Ismaila Ceesay are running things. It’s sad that they think they have a superior insight into everything. Like that guy who works at TANGO. What’s his name again?
You mean Madi Jobarteh?
Exactly! He is another pathetic misguided fool, who can’t seem to open up to other people’s perspectives.
Back to Dr Ceesay, I have nothing against him. But I think we Gambians should understand that the future of our country doesn’t solely depend on me, Adama Barrow. It’s up to all of us to make a difference. There are things we can all do, no matter how small, to strengthen and improve The Gambia.
Are you disappointed in the New Gambia?
Never! I am not disappointed. However, I am disappointed in Gambians who are forgetting that the future is in all of our hands. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
How many children do you have?
I don’t talk about my private life. Why do you want to know?
Because it’s we, the taxpayers, who are paying for State House expenses and this, include food, clothing, utilities, transportation, security and medical care?
I am also a taxpayer.
When is the State House releasing photos of the First Family?
(Laughs) I don’t know. I am not the State House photographer. Talk to Amie Bojang Sissoho, maybe she can help.
What are some of your favourite hobbies?
Watching football and eating. I want to lose weight but I love eating.
Are you afraid of social media?
Afraid? The loud-mouth Gambians on social media are completely disconnected from reality. Honestly, their criticisms could never shake me. I always ignore them. Do you know that some of your people in the Diaspora are angry because I didn’t offer them jobs?
Give me names, Mr President!
(Laughs) Scattred Janneh. I heard he is now trying to register his political party. This guy can’t run a village football team let alone a country. He should join Kitabu Comedy.
Finally, why did you appoint Ousainou Darboe as Vice President?
I was expecting that question. Look, I don’t know whether I will be here for 3 or 5 years.
What do you mean?
I can’t allow Mama Kandeh to take over after me. Please, no further question on that.
Who gave you the D11m that you donated to Gambian pilgrims?
My anonymous Arab friends.
Did you hear about the mysterious D33m that was transferred into your wife’s foundation’s bank account?
Yes, I heard about it. Sorry, I have to go now.
Thank you for your time, Mr President.
No problem! Can I give you a D500, 000 to write positive things about me and my government?
No, thanks! I don’t want you to expose me in public.
(Laughs) Ok, bye!
Hope you enjoyed our IMAGINARY INTERVIEW with Barrow!