The Gambia is perhaps the only country in the world where development projects are earmarked for only regions that remain loyal to the President and his ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Reorientation and Construction. How many times have we heard President Yahya Jammeh threatening to deal with the opposition stronghold regions? Was he not the very one who has been bragging to teach these regions unforgettable lessons?
“I want to teach people that opposition in Africa does not pay,” President Jammeh said in 2007. “I know who is getting my vote and those who vote against me should not expect my government’s development projects.”
Interestingly, Jammeh failed short of exempting these opposition stronghold regions from paying taxes. This is what pissed off many Gambians. Among those who strongly opppse Mr. Jammeh’s wayward attitude is the leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP). Lawyer Ousainou Darboe faulted the President for not distributing development equally across the country. “It is wrong for The Gambia government to deny any region development for whatever reason,” Lawyer Darboe told a rally in Sukuta in Kombo North.
We concur with Mr. Darboe that the Jammeh government must ensure that all taxpaying citizens are provided development. What is the essence of paying taxes when you are denied basic essential services or development? In that case should you be in a hurry to pay taxes or refuse to pay taxes? Was it not in the same land where colonialists were told “No Taxation Without Representation”? It is about time these regions put it on Jammeh’s that he had pushed them to the brink and the only thing left on their plate is “No Taxation Without Development.”
Shame on a government that feeds on the back of her poor people and at the same time deny them development for political reasons.