The UN Human Rights Rapporteur Saga

UN Investigators Hynes & Menendez/The Point

Another Black Eye For The

Crumbling Jammed Fiefdom

By Kaba Sallah

The indecision and immaturity of the Jammeh gangster government was on full display for the whole world to see during the planned visit of the UN Human Rights Rapporteurs in November, 2014. Having invited the UN research team to investigate and report on the human rights situation, Jammeh he got cold feet, became wobbly and abruptly decided to block access to them. This is another indication of chaos, the decay within the junta, and micro-managing at the top, the lack of trust and independence of the people placed in charge.

The job of the UN researchers involved examining the condition of the prisons and the prisoners, especially the political prisoners, and the judicial system. The researchers were interested in talking to civil society groups, and opposition members as well. How could Jammeh succumb to international pressure, especially following the assassination of the Mile 2 Nine in 2012, after making chest thumping pronouncements, to condemn the West? How could Jammeh quietly succumb to pressure from the so-called Western countries, after displaying such public bravado and machismo? The guy, Dictator Jammeh is an unrepentant and shameless chicken hawk, a coward, a bully of his own people he purports to lead. A Bully always backs down, quietly, when his victims become distracted, whenever he meets his match. Jammeh can out talk the West, but he can never bully or intimidate them, period. The reason is simply that Gambia has no geopolitical, or economic leverage that can get the world’s attention. We have no military worth mentioning, and Senegal is there to remind him of that reality.

The Gambia is part of the international system, especially the financial system, which controls and regulates all transactions. The Gambia is also a voluntary member of the United Nations, and signatory to multiple conventions, agreements, rules of behavior, you name it. In the area of human rights, Gambia had therefore agreed to abide by those conventions, regarding the treatment of people in the judicial system, freedom of speech, association and expression. Such rights as recognized under the United Nations Charter as basic and fundamental to any civilized society or nation. Gambia claims to be abiding by those agreements, yet Jammeh was terrified that they may just find out about the truth; about arbitrary arrests, torture, extra judicial killings and forced disappearances, the lack of press freedom, slave labor at Kanilai, drug trafficking, money laundering, the secret and unmarked graves of the Mile 2 Nine and the 40 Ghanaians murdered several years ago, secret prisons, the list goes on and on…you fill in the blanks.

No Man is an Island …
Conversely, no country can be an island. No country can survive by itself alone, on its own, without interaction, trade, exchange and cooperation. The more isolated a country becomes, the more autarkic, the more its citizens will suffer. North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, Venezuela, Sudan, even Russia comes to mind (the ruble has hit bottom, worse than the Dalasi). All of the countries I mentioned also have a lot to offer the world, geopolitically or economically. The world loses when relations are bad with, say Iran. Iran is a regional hegemon and has vast oil reserves, so there is an opportunity cost also for the world. But what does micro-country like Gambia has to offer the world? Not a whole lot, right…therefore, our very survival, our viability or our quality f life depends on our relations with the wider world. This will help us in terms of trade, international cooperation, and transfer of knowledge and exchanges of cultural nature. Dictator Jammeh’s bellicose, adversarial, and misguided foreign policy has cost us friends on the East and West. We are no longer friends with China, nor with Taiwan, not to mention the EU or EU or the US.

Consequences of a misguided foreign policy

The UN rapporteurs report, therefore, will have major consequences for Gambians, and the biggest losers are the youths. To counter the impending consequences, Jammeh is starting yet another misguided “Vision 2016”, aka, anti-rice import agenda! After 20 years, he has come up with a plan to cut off trade! ( More on Vision 2016 later)…

The Jawara administration understood foreign policy, Gambia became a nation, partly because a strong case was made for our survival based on trade, cooperation, participation, the strength of our alliances. President Jawara developed and nurtured those intangibles, and Gambia was respected among the nations, despite its size. Dictator Jammeh is walking us off ona diplomatic cliff, a global cliff, and we are still oblivious, with our eyes wide open…It’s time to stop being spectators to our own annihilation as a nation. Gambia is like no other nation on this planet (Swaziland and Lesotho closest, in Africa), our viability depends on having excellent international relations, beginning with Senegal. That delicate relation need to be counter-balanced so we can remain independent and relevant. Unfortunately, under Dictator Jammeh has lost significant international capital and clout, especially with our most important partner, our conjoined dominant partner, Senegal.

The damning report of the UN rapporteurs (was global news) may have been the stake that was driven deep inside Gambia’s heart, or shall we say, driven the heart the Dictators heart. We are dying a slow painful death as a viable nation, but the noose is also tightening around the thick neck of the Butcher of Kanilai…

In the post Jammeh era, we will be faced with a long arduous correction period, a rectification period, a period to restore our institutions back to order. The question is, are we ready, are we preparing for the future. Gambia, t’s time to rise up . the Burkinabes….Thank you



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