By Seedy Fofanah
The President of the Gambia Yahya Jammeh is the Africa’s Worst Dictator in the 21st Century. When he took over the mantle of affairs of the Republic of the Gambia on July 22nd 1994, he started with a Slogan; “Accountability, Transparency and Probity” that there was none of these happening in the first Republic. He justified his military take over with these high sounding phrases; he didn’t know what they really meant and accuses the first regime of corruption, absence of accountability, and probity. In addition, he also blames the first government of lack of press freedom, freedom of expression of one’s opinion and right to public assembly to conduct peaceful demonstration in order to express national concerns. None of these are being adhered to by the Jammeh administration, but rather practicing them at the worst scenario.
What the Gambia is experiencing or going through today is the direct opposite of all his claims and justifications of toppling a constitutional, stable and viable government with peace, and stability that was reining in The Gambia. Yahya Jammeh since he came into power and hitherto, ruling the country with draconian laws with affronts that is contrary to the principles of; good governance, democracy, human rights, rule of law and freedom of speak. Often times, orders for the arrest of any prominent, progressive and critical minded Gambians he considers threat to his government with extortion by members of the security services and the unending spate of arrests, disappearances, mysterious killings, and torture that did not spare anyone irrespective of whether or not they have committed any crime. It doesn’t matter if one decides to remain mute or becomes vocal; his ruthless actions are meted out on them. He uses all state available security agents and mercenaries at his disposal to eliminate patriotic Gambians. These in totality are in gross violation of the Gambian constitution that he disregards with impunity. These are some of his strategies, including ethnic profiling, divide and rule and witch hunting for punishing civil servants and silencing the populace about his atrocities by intimidating and instilling fear into the minds of every Gambian residing in the country and beyond. Since the advent of Jammeh regime on July 22nd 1994; has special dislike for the Mandinka tribe and he recognises them as his target enemy. Yet he used Mandinkas to get into power during the transition from military to civilian government. Thus, he has been inciting other tribes against the Mandinkas. In his early days in office his promise was “I will kill Mandinkas like bedbugs and bury them six feet deep in the ground”. He did not stop there, but further said that Mandinka is in fact not a tribe, but somebody coming from the Manding Empire and called him/herself a Mandinka. He has since been propagating the politics of tribalism in all his public gatherings and political campaigns on the campaign trail against the Mandinka tribe throughout elections conducted in the Gambia during his tenure since 1996. He is the only one talking about tribalism in the country and yet still he is accusing the opposition and the Mandika tribe for propagating the politics of tribalism with an objective of divide and rule by diverting the attention of Gambians from the reality of his bad governance and defiance to the rule of law. Thank God, Gambians are matured enough and did not adhere to his incitement; otherwise the country would have been in civil war by now, which is his ultimate objective to obliterate the Mandinka tribe.
So many important Gambian personalities have perished under Jammeh Dictatorship. They included Ousman Koro Sisay, Sadibou Hydara, Deyda Hydara, Daba Marena, just to name a few. As a responsible government accountable to your people, no effort has ever been made to investigate into these missing citizens up to date. Obviously common sense dictates that he has a hand in their demise. In addition, the student massacre that took place on April 10 and 11 in the year 2000 and up till now nobody has ever been brought to book for lives lost.
Jammeh introduces false information charges to silence any critical minded citizens about his regime, and surrounded himself with sycophants, bootlickers and those who lack faith and self esteem like Professor Muhammed Kah to do the dirty job for him. He would want any civil servant dismissed to beg for his mercy to be reinstated, otherwise face the economic crime or false information charges. For professor Kah, one would not be surprised to see a man of his caliber as a fake professor with no recognised academic qualification from any reputable institution in the world aiding the Jammeh regime. Professor Kah is a bluff, arrogant and empty in the head. As the saying goes; “an empty barrel makes the most sound”. Generally, people who are ignorant are always arrogant to hide their ignorance and that is exactly what Professor Kah has been doing.
What is more cynical about Jallow Kanilai’s regime is that he accuses some of his Ministers he falls apart with of committing Economic Crimes and yet he commits the worst economic crimes than anybody who works in his regime. A chasing point is the former Finance Minister Mamburay Njie. Let Yahya Jammeh tell the Gambian People what Economic Crime has Mamburay committed that warrants him to be taken to court. Truth will emerge that Mamburay’s hands are clean if justice is allowed to take its course without inference. It is known to the whole world that there is no independence of judiciary as evidenced by the frequent hiring and firing of judges.
Comparing Mamburay’s case to the land mark case of the “False Information” case of the Inspector General of Police VS Alhagie Ali Gumbo Touray in which Professor Muhammad Kah, who has been looting from the University’s meager resources for five years or more has been indicted for serious economic crime and yet he is still languishing within the university campus with impunity. Gumbo Touray was totally exonerated for all the charges levied against him and was not reinstated or compensated for the damages, but rather fled the country into asylum in the United Kingdom for fear of persecution owing to lack of justice. Yet this is considered by JK as justice and fair play in the eyes of all rational citizens. This is a clear manifestation of selective justice of Jammeh regime that he punishes those he wants to disgrace and harbor those he favors.
It is interesting to note that Professor Kah’s five-year contract has expired and not renewed, yet still, the Vice Councilor without portfolio is paid by the taxpayer’s money. What is the President doing about it and the new inaugurated docile/rubber stamp university governing council not saying anything about the state of affairs of the university which remains in limbo? This is an unfair treatment of the state affairs of the university. This is a clear indication that both President Jammeh and fake Professor Muhammad Kah have something heinous in common, that is they both are looting the country, especially they now awaits the $60 million coming from the donors for the construction of University Campus. Their ulterior motive is to siphon some of this money for the President since he is broke. This is all the more reason the President is still silent about the Vice Councilor’s contract. There is all likelihood that, if this money is committed as pledged, Professor Kah would be reinstated to aid the President otherwise his faith is precarious.
In view of the foregoing, there is serious brain drain in the Gambia, especially the youth who are the cream of any society. All those who have the opportunity and skills to leave the country, have left or about to leave for fear of persecution. This is at the detriment of the socio-economic development of the Gambia as an emerging economy.
The Gambia is no place for those who believe in democracy, rule of law, fundamental human and peoples’ rights and freedom of expression. As patriotic Gambians, it is a grave concern for all and sundry to see our mother land developing to be a safe haven for all Gambians in particular and humanity at large. This can only happen with dynamic and proactive leadership and strong government that have the interest of the country at heart with appropriate strategic planning and economic outlook to move the country forward. Jallow Kanilai’s regime has failed Gambians. None of his promises has been realized and I don’t think he can make it anymore after staying in power for twenty years. It is advisable for him to hand over power which is better for him.