(JollofNews)- Someone rang me this morning to ask for an Englishman’s opinion on the Freedom Newspaper’s cover story about President Jammeh’s speech on Saturday.
My initial reaction was it was outrageously funny. The wordings of Jammeh’s statement are always poorly expressed and you must always look beneath the words to find the true understanding of his frustrations.
If you remember the storyline of “The Wizard Of OZ” the happy band of adventurers followed the yellow brick road to the Oga’s castle to be greeted by a fearful voice bellowing down a public address system, warning those approaching of a fearsome tyrant, who owns the castle… only to find inside the battlements, a defeated ailing sick old man, who was lonely and suffering from isolation. I am sure the parody is not lost on the readers.
Looking at Mr Jammeh over these many long years, I have reached the conclusion that he is greatly influenced by some outside force that he is “courting” for donor support, be it Libya, Iran Taiwan, Venezuela, Turkey or an Arab/Islamic state. His path has never been a western orientated journey. Yet being an ever pragmatist, he is not too proud when it comes to accessing western lines of credit, either through the European Union (EU) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
His attack on the African Union [AU) is not an uncommon theme by many contributors online. So he will find some support on home ground for this public body blow to this elite club of western clones. I share his frustrations over the mishandling of the migrant crisis in Libya by the EU. Human trafficking across the Mediterranean is a criminal scandal that requires concerted international action and the preventable deaths by drowning of the poorest and weakest citizens of Africa does deserve the strongest response from the AU.
As for Mr Jammeh’s threat to declare war on the EU, this is perhaps the most outrageous sentence ever spoken by His Excellency. Outrageous and ridiculous as it sounds, it has captured everyone’s attention.
So where can we find access to damage limitation from those who are advising him? Who is pulling his chain this time around?
The IMF have given the most disturbing picture of the economic crisis facing not only Gambia, but many other West African nations struggling with catastrophic financial turmoil caused by forces beyond any government’s control.
President Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia’s approach to the EU for 4 billion Euros is a request that must be reciprocated by the better-off nations without delay. It is going to take several years to recover the strong path to sustained economic growth for West Africa. Therefore, the outlook for the impoverished citizens of the region will continue to force many thousands to commit to years of forced economic migration across hostile deserts and turbulent seas.
West Africa does require strong leaders during this sustained economic downturn. Perhaps when they reach the light at the end of this dark tunnel of despair they will develop into an experienced force of determined and unselfish statesmen.
As for calling the December 30th adventurers “dogs” His Excellency has a short and convenient loss of memory about his own actions on 22nd July 1994. Clearly he must accept that he is not immune to responsibility for the large body of Gambian opinion that is highly critical of his lack of compromise to all adverse opinion. If the IMF is right and the Gambian pub has run out of beer, His Excellency needs to find some common ground to take support from the Diaspora. One online editor said to me the other day, “If only Jammeh would apologise for his mistakes, he would find some support.” Will Jammeh ever find some common ground or apologise for his mistakes? Gambians know best. I am just an admirer seeking solutions.