As I watched our First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow on television supporting torture survivors and torture victims, particularly Ms. Nogoi Njie, I saw acceptance and a smile of hope. I saw conformity and low spirit lifted. I saw receptivity and compassion. I saw confidence and empathy in what the present provides. She is a rare combination of beauty, brain, and heart. She talks straight less and listening more, and makes things happen big. Did you watch her actions and philanthropic functions?
Well, I believe Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah Barrow has done very well, filling the void. However, her role is quite strange, very unusual; the face and voice of the deserving and the needy to the ways of her husband’s government.
The apple does not fall far away from the tree. I am informed that she is her father’s daughter. Her granddad was precisely like that: Bold, assertive, brilliant, even domineering.Interesting. First Lady is an uncommon blessing to her generation.
First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow, the wife of President Barrow, is probably the most “love in a hating way” person, or I may say, there is a “Love-hate relationship” across the political spectrum for her ideals likely far between, perception is everything for the potential occasional Gambian today, especially by her admirers, critics as well as followers of her husband’s administration.
Fatoumatta: I did not support these brazenly chauvinistic and misogynistic comments attributed to her. Still, I may remind Gambians that First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow’s primary duty is to help her husband. Historically, this has indeed been the duty of First Ladies. Mamie Eisenhower covered up for her husband. Jackie Kennedy had to endure her husband, JFK’s shortcomings. Hillary Clinton saved Bill Clinton by standing with him in his most challenging moment. Not every President would ask for a Grace Mugabe, who pushed her husband out of office, or a Lucy Kibaki who made Mwai Kibaki of Kenya look like a domestic victim.
Closer home, former First Lady Zainab Jammeh and Fatoumata Barrow share little in common other than lofty positions and powerful hubbies but vastly different women. Fatoumatta Bah Barrow builds a compelling argument and negotiates with opponents. Unlike First Lady Zenab Jammeh, being a political spouse only attracts attention or holds an audience’s interest based on her look and her willingness to defer to the commands of others. She was terrific for being a trophy wife.
The tradition has been for our First Ladies to stand by their husbands through thick and thin. However, Fatoumatta Bah Barrow is probably the first Gambian First Lady to cultivate the public persona of an assertive, irreverent, independent-minded, critic-in-the-other-room, aggressive, resident, and privileged “wailing wailer” in the Statehouse.
Fatoumatta: I do not consider this a praise-worthy development. I stand by the cautious, conservative view I expressed in my previous article on President Adama Barrow’s sweetheart. However, from initial concerns about her haute-couture fashion appearances, Gambians have come to regard her more for her occasional but striking political statements or such statements that may be attributed to her. Are the times not tough already? Let her work in grace. Tough times demand decent people. If a man discovers a cobra under his pillow and faints, what shall we say is wrong if it is his wife who gets up and kills the snake? Then, at least, we have someone in action out, especially now that all the loud voices of the past have gone dumb, quiet. We do not even know what has taken their vocal cords away? Is it food or fear? Both, I think.