Thursday, 03 October 2013 13:18(Opinion) – The President of The Gambia has done it again. Less than one week after the ‘unstatesmanlike’ statement made at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Gambia Government announced its decision yesterday to "withdraw” its membership of the Commonwealth, stating that “The Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism."
Though not surprising, the Jammeh administration’s decision falls in line with his diatribe called a statement Friday, September 27 at the UN General Assembly. The speech, characterized by derision and disparagement of the leading world powers whom he described “as self appointed gods” and of the organization that he was standing in to make his statement was enough to make anyone listening to it cringe in their seat.
It pointed to a deficit of knowledge and the intellectual discipline to put forward world issues to the assembly in a systematic manner. Instead of the name-calling and castigation of Western powers for past colonialism and slavery one would have thought that President Jammeh would use hard evidence and logical analysis to back up his statements on climate change, poverty, hunger and disease.
The same is expected from The Gambia Government should they decide, based on the whims and caprices of our self-righteous head of state to withdraw from the Commonwealth. The statement, which, apart from Jammeh’s “neo-colonial” rants indicates no other reasons for The Gambia withdrawing from the body which brings together 54 countries, including Great Britain and most of its former colonies strongly confirms suspicions that the Commonwealth’s stance on the poor human rights record of The Gambia, the position of United Kingdom MPs in particular their most recent Early Day Motion - calling for targeted sanctions against Jammeh and his entourage; and, the UK Government’s strong support for the 17 point EU demands are some of the main reasons for The Gambia’s withdrawal of the “neo-colonial” body.
Jammeh, in making such a premature decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth forgets that our country, The Gambia’s development is largely tied to aid and support that comes from our donors and financial partners. Did he not think of the technical and financial support, in particular for the Office of the Ombudsman and the judiciary that comes with Commonwealth membership? I bet not, justice and the rule of law are issues that Jammeh has no respect for and any intervention to strengthen our capacity in these areas is of no concern to him or his government.
Over the years, numerous Gambians have benefitted from Commonwealth scholarships and funding. Jammeh who claims that Education is a priority for his government, is oblivious to the fact that the numerous Gambians who could’ve benefited from such programs would now lose out. Then again, does Jammeh really care? I think not.
In a fervent display of arrogance and messianic fervor, the President of The Gambia, at the UN General Assembly, adopted a dogmatic stance against homosexuals and the Western Powers, declaring war against them with the certitude that other Muslim and African countries will join him on this crusade? His ranting that “after fighting for our freedom and liberating our continent, we are being prescribed a religion – DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS and GOOD GOVERNANCE by descendants of the same colonial powers” is a dangerous attempt to equate these three principles to a new form of evangelization.
If Jammeh truly believes that this is the case then he had no business standing on the podium of this august body. After all, the UN is a membership based organization founded to promote peace and all other human rights obligations outlined in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Member states must be willing to carry out any and all actions they have signed up to in order to satisfy those obligations.
As far as I know The Gambia has ratified every convention on these three principles. As we have withdrawn from the Commonwealth, one would expect that after such disparaging statements against the global body, The Gambia would withdraw its UN membership and not lobby, behind the scenes, for a seat as a non permanent member of the Security Council.
Between 2010 and 2011, when the Economic Community of West African States took harsh decisions in particular its refusal to send Elections Observers to participate in the Presidential Elections of November 2011, Jammeh threatened to withdraw from the sub-regional bloc, which coincidentally, in its Treaty and Supplementary Protocol on “DEMOCRACY and GOOD GOVERNANCE ” prescribes that ECOWAS member states observe the provisions therein and discharge its obligations.
For Jammeh, the real issue is not about determining the true flag bearers of democracy. The real issue is about the accountability of a dictator who fears that he will be held accountable for his actions in the not too distant future. His assertion that: “present day Africans cannot be hoodwinked anymore and we are determined to defend our independence and dignity, and take control of our own natural resources at any cost and by any means necessary” is simply self-gratification and self-glorification as the following statement belies the bravado “they spend more money on killer technologies than on medical and agricultural technology up to this day.” If Africans are determined to defend their independence and dignity, and take control of their own natural resources at any cost and by any means necessary why don’t we develop our own medical and agricultural technology?
Putting up a show as he is wont to do, Jammeh offered a glimpse of his true self to the world. The showmanship that Jammeh displays when he uses the State media as a forum for his regular harangues against the opposition, media, activists, state officials, religious leaders, businessmen and women, even students and beggars are not spared. In a bid to cover up his deficiencies, Jammeh spews out nonsensical utterances in his haughty and puffed up manner. The statement made at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly offered the world the opportunity to see, at first hand the performance of an amateurish President.
Jammeh’s comments on climate change, Syria, the UN Security Council showcased an amateur in world politics who was totally out of depth in this gathering, floundering like a fish out of water. Many of our leaders from the developing world use this opportunity to pitch themselves and their countries, in order to attract more friends, investments and build on the trust with already existing partners and friends of their countries. Jammeh has once again used the opportunity to do what he does best – alienate The Gambia.
In this 68th Session, where even Hassan Rohani, the newly elected Iranian leader offered an olive branch, our buffoon of a leader demonstrated to the whole world, his inability to understand global diplomacy, 19 years after coming into power. President Jammeh’s speech writer’s myopic, opaque, backward and archaic style of writing does more to dent his credibility and should be sacked immediately.
Though shocking, Jammeh’s statements on global politics are nothing compared to the insincerity of his remarks and deliberate attempts to twist the realities of Africans in particular Gambians. His attempts at Pan-Africanism and African unity must have shocked other leaders from the region who know full well that The Gambia is the only country in West Africa were other ECOWAS nationals are described as ‘aliens’ and made to pay yearly aliens taxes despite the fact that we are signatory to the ECOWAS Protocols on Free Movement of People and Goods.
The ridiculous UNGA performance portrayed President Jammeh for who he really is - a jester, bigot, manipulative, arrogant, ignorant, shallow, self-opinionated, illogical, uncivilized and confused illiterate of a dictator who does not know what to say, when, where and how.
Jammeh highlighted three things which he sees as “the biggest threats to human existence” which he ascribes to human behaviour and to ungodly attributes. These are:
- Excessive Greed – and therefore addiction to gather material wealth by any means necessary mostly through violent or immoral schemes;
- Obsession – with world domination by any means including the resolve to use nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to achieve this fanciful dream;
- Homosexuality – in all its forms and manifestations which though very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah; is being promoted as a human right by some powers.
If this was not absurd it would be laughable. Laughable, in the sense that Jammeh, is capable of seeing these faults in other people but cannot see it in himself. The cap truly fits President Jammeh as his greed, avariciousness, violence, immorality, dominance are unparalleled in the history of The Gambia and even West Africa for that matter.
The first threat he highlights is excessive greed - This is from a man who has become massively wealthy over the past 19 years. Since he came into power in July 1994, Jammeh has amassed so much of wealth that he publicly brags that future generations of his family will never be poor. Yet, we are all aware that when he bulldozed himself into power he was an impoverished, malnourished lieutenant who had no assets and no money. The day before he took over, Jammeh was at the Gambia Ports Authority courtyard begging for lunch money from some Customs officials, one of whom (now late) gave him 50 Dalasis. The man who had only 150 Dalasis (US$5) in his bank account is now the proud owner of one third of the farm lands in The Gambia, countless properties in and outside The Gambia including Potomac in the USA, the most expensive and latest models of cars, uncountable herd of cattle, state of the art farming equipment, a zoo, private planes and designer watches and clothes.
The man who is blaming Africa’s poverty on external forces is the very individual who has increased poverty in The Gambia by usurping all the informal sector activities. If not the only, Jammeh is one of few heads of state who is a farmer, butcher, producer, baker, fish seller, vegetable seller, public transporter, sand miner, owns petrol stations, sells construction materials and livestock and is a traditional healer, cum clairvoyant.
In an unfair competitive market, where President Jammeh pays neither tax nor for labour (as he uses Gambia Government paid personnel), the small holder farmers and small and medium sized enterprises fold up. His insatiable greed propels him into all directions and he does not care who gets hurt in the process. Jammeh has seized landed properties, businesses, cars and money. As if this is not enough he even exchanges prisoners for money. The Ezzedin case is a glaring example of this. Charged with six others currently serving death sentences in the Mile Two Central Prisons on trumped up charges of treason, Ezzedin was released when a lot of cash exchanged hands and smuggled out of the country when the others are still languishing in jail. How much greedier than this can one get?
Jammeh’s so called second global threat is obsession - with world domination; it is inconceivable that a man who believes that political power grows out of the barrel of the gun and uses the gun to amass and centralize political and economic power at all costs and maintain himself in power through his ego, greed, fear and blind ambition. His constant ranting and raving at the European Union and the United States of America are a cover up for his fear -his fear that he has no place to hide as all his actions are under the radar. It is instructive that the man who brooks no opposition and uses all forms of violence - torture, abductions, imprisonment, disappearances, gassing, rape and killings to subjugate his people can now accuse others of carrying out such atrocities.
Coming to Jammeh’s third perceived threat – homosexuality. Jammeh’s obsession with homosexuals is to say the least repulsive. Anti gay statements have pervaded his statements over the recent past and have now escalated into every discourse by Jammeh and his cronies. In his fall out with the EU on the 17 point-demands, Jammeh informed the Gambian populace that the fall out was about forcing The Gambia to legalize same sex marriages. He sent his envoys to rural communities with this message and made sure that every opportunity that he had he would bring up the issue. He has threatened to castrate and kill all LGBTIs and has warned them to “stay out of his country.” Jammeh is a homophobe who has demonstrated homophobia at all levels including at the UN – the citadel of human rights. His government goes strictly by Jammeh’s inclinations thus any person perceived to be a gay, lesbian or bi-sexual is truly at risk in The Gambia.
Having illuminated the insincerity and the hypocrisy underpinning Jammeh’s statement, I want to unmask the despot even further. It is important that the world knows the man behind the façade. For someone who moralizes and gives the impression that he is righteous and God fearing, I want people to know that Yaya Jammeh is anything but the morally upright person that he claims to be.
Immorality And Abuse Of Powers
President Jammeh’s obsession with women especially light skinned women is widely known and is the subject of discussion in many private forums. His liaison with countless number of under-age girls some of whom were still in senior secondary school at the time is documented. He coerces them with scholarships, lavishes them with expensive gifts including cars and finances their travels. When he is finished with them he dumps them. Older women are also not safe from his unwanted overtures.
Reports of his sexual harassment and abuse of women from all walks of life particularly those in government occupying high office are also noted. In addition to the civil servants, women in the media, the security services and the private sector fall prey to this predator. Fear for their lives and in particular that of their husbands has made many married women to succumb to his unwanted, dirty and “anti Allah” moves. The physical, psychological and emotional trauma that he has put these young women and their families through is also “very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah” not to talk about the gross human rights abuse of young women. The man is a pedophile, a womanizer and an abuser of women.
While he has accused so many men and women including his Secretary General’s and Ministers of State of economic crimes and imprisoned them for much lesser crimes or on trumped up charges it is my view, that it is he President Jammeh that should be tried and imprisoned for such crimes. Meeting with women during working hours, transporting women to his Kanilai den and on official missions is tantamount to abuse of powers. To top it up, the expensive gifts and monies that he gives to these women, is more or less money that comes from the Gambian taxpayers purse. We all remember the chain of emails (published on various Gambian websites) indicating monies, transferred through our embassy in the USA meant for luxury holidays for the Miss Black USA beauty pageant participants.
In addition to his extra marital expenses his expenditures on his wife’s countless trips abroad should be sanctioned. Zeinab Jammeh and her children are very regular fliers to the USA, other European destinations and to Morroco. At whose expense and, at what cost, after all has he not just sacked and detained the Managing Director of GAMTEL for sponsoring his wife’s medical trip to next door Senegal?
People in glass houses should not throw stones. Jammeh the crusader has embarked on a mission that can only cause harm to the people of The Gambia. The country is too small and too poor to be isolated. Apart from Taiwan, The Gambia has few allies who are able and willing to provide the support that is needed to enable it meet its development objectives in a post 2015 agenda.
Written by Ndey Tapha Sosseh
Who's OnlineWe have 124 guests and 1 member online
Should homosexuality be legalised in The Gambia?
- APRC Retains Seat In Constituency By—Election
- South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Dies
- European Union To Vote On Gambia’s Aid Package
- Exiled Gambian Editor Publishes Memoir
- Three Gambians Remanded For Stealing Yahya Jammeh’s Cows
- Gambia Makes U-turn On Chicken Legs Ban
- Gambian Detained For Bad—Mouthing Jammeh Freed
- Gambia’s Information Minister Nana Grey—Johnson Fired
- Opposition Parties To Hold Unity Rallies In Gambia
- Exorbitant Demands For Aid Causes Gambia/Taiwan Tie Break
- Taiwan Regrets Gambia’s Decision To Cut Ties
- Gambia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Taiwan
- Gambia’s Jammeh Admits ‘I Am A Dictator’
- Gambians In London Takes To The Street
- Senegal‚ Casamance Rebels Set Talks Agenda