Veteran journalist Demba Ali Jawo has reacted to his sacking as Information, Communication and Technology minister describing the timing as a ‘bit surprising’.
Mr Jawo was elbowed out of the cabinet in Friday’s reshuffle. Other casualties included Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang, the iron lady who planted the seed for an opposition victory in December 2016, Agriculture Minister Omar Jallow of the Progressive People’s Party, Youth and Sports Minister Henry Gomez and Health Minister Saffie Lowe.
There are reports that Tourism Minister Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party has also been pushed out of the cabinet. A government media statement announcing the sacking and appointment of new ministers has failed to mention his fate together with that of the Interior minister.
Speaking to the BBC Focus on Africa Programme hours after his sacking, Mr Jawo said the president has not given him any reason for the sacking.
“They actually called me to the President’s Office and gave me the letter. It was afterwards that they issued a press release. Well of course, the Secretary General at the Office of the President was the one who handed me my letter, sat down open it and I saw that it was a letter from the president relieving me of my post,” he said.
The much respected journalist who edited a number of newspapers in the country including the Dakar-based African Press Agency (APANEWS) and was called into government in February 2017 added: “No, there was no reason stated [in the letter] but as you know, well he [the president] has the prerogative to appoint anybody and sack anybody and he is not obliged to give any reason whatsoever.
“Well, I was not very much surprised that it happened but maybe the timing was a bit surprising. I didn’t expect it today. But honestly it didn’t come as a very big surprise to me.”
Reflecting on his tenure, Mr Jawo said: “Probably things have not been quite easy running the place and I thought probably one-day somebody might think I am not delivering or whatever, I don’t know, anyway. Under the circumstances that I was operating, I definitely feel that I have done all that I could under the circumstances. I couldn’t see that as my fault anyway.
“I wouldn’t say that the president or the government wasn’t cooperating with me, but we are still going under some teething problems. The coordination between the various ministries and departments and other things was not quite as we would have loved it to be.”