Njundu Drammeh

The drama intensifies…. Getting murkier, more opaque, more muddied and interesting. Former Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty is insisting on his innocence and daring anyone, including the Presidency and his accusers, to prove his guilty. That is a daring-do and considering the magnitude of the allegation and the political damage that it could do to his career if proven true, and to protest his innocence loudly and proudly, he seems to be rock solid.

The Presidency, the Office of the President, has no choice but to come clear and clean on this matter. The silence will not only intensify and aggravate the speculation but would also raises unanswered doubts in our minds. The silence would mean that Mai is right that he is a victim of malicious, insidious trumped up charges. It may also have two contradictory adverse effects: damaging the political career of a politician or increasing the approval rating and popularity of a politician who the voters see as a hapless victim, or a hero, of a smear campaign by other politicians.

If the charges are true, then Semelex, the alleged accuser, must, produce a copy of the cheque which was issued in the name of Mai or the bank transfer or the transaction details. Or an audio of the meeting in which Mai demanded the payment for the favours. Only Jammeh, the King of Croesus, used to pack millions of Dalasis in suitcases and sacks and hand them over to people in full public glare. We may need to see pictures of these, know the carriers and the counters, who witnessed the offloading and all what not. These may be petty but the onus is also on the accuser to prove its accusation.

This case and others demand that the Government or the Presidency is transparent to the public, communicates timely and unambiguously, and knows it is accountable to the people for its acts of commission and omission. The Government must not be afraid of the light.

But more importantly, it show the urgency of instituting “whistle blowing” as an “ethical recourse” for employees, setting up the anti- corruption commission, enacting a Right to Information law and insisting on exemplary leadership from all. When the political leaders set an example by being transparent and accountable, who would dare act othetwise?