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Tuesday, 12 November 2013 17:32(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia has admitted of being a dictator. Mr Jammeh, who is regularly accused of rights abuses, has ruled the Gambia with an aura of mysticism and an iron fist since seizing power in 1994.
Earlier this year, his regime was singled out for its poor rights record in Britain's annual Human Rights and Democracy Report, which cited cases of unlawful detentions, illegal closures of newspapers and radio stations and discrimination against minority groups.
But Jammeh said he is not a dictator who uses force on people, but a dictator of development.
“Oh yes, I am a dictator of development, a dictator of progress, and a dictator that will not be dictated to by outsiders,” he said
In an interview with the London based New African Magazine, Mr. Jammeh added: “In the Gambia I am a servant of the people. We have come a long way, we still have a long way to go, but we have depended only on God and other countries that recognise that we are human beings and that we are an independent and sovereign country. And we shall not accept any British person telling us what to do or that homosexuality is a human right and therefore we should legalise it here in the Gambia.
“Well, if they want their countries to be led by homosexuals, that is their business, but not in The Gambia. So if they think it is right, let them practice it there, but not here in the Gambia, do you understand? On governance, when did Africans participate in elections in the colonial era? It seems the idea of human rights, freedom and good governance never applied to their colonial subjects.”
Mr. Jammeh denied that his government is sustained with funds from international organisations. He said 99 per cent of the Gambia’s infrastructural projects were built from proceeds of the country’s natural resources.
He added: “About 99 per cent of the infrastructural projects here have been built from our own national resources. Yes, we have built this infrastructure. We have built this country from the Stone Age.”
Mr. Jammeh further denied that the Gambia is dependent on foreign aid. “We are not dependent on foreign aid, and I don't think if we were dependent on foreign aid for our livelihood I would be taking the decisions I take,” he said.
“I wouldn't be able to follow this position of complete independence. I am fighting for the dignity of the African wherever he or she is, and defending my religious belief. If we are dependent on foreign aid, to be where we are, let them tell the whole world who gave us that aid. Because the West is shamelessly brave about taking credit for other people's efforts, let them tell us what they built for us in The Gambia for all those years that they were here.
“Those who say the Gambia has been built on foreign aid let them show you one infrastructure here that was built with foreign aid. They have never given me a respite, they have been attacking me all the time because of my stance on important issues, which will never change, and then they go ahead and report that the Gambia's success story is due to foreign aid. Foreign aid from which Western country?
“I put my faith in the Almighty Allah and as long as I know that what I am doing is right, I fear nothing. I am used to this negativity from 1994 to date, but would that make me back down from my stance to defend Africa, to defend our interests and our independence? No. I will never back down. A Gambian proverb says an enemy is an enemy, and even if you dance in the water he is still going to complain that you are raising a lot of dust and making him cough.”
Written by PK Jarju
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