Adama Guindo  The UN Secretary       Jammeh vows to cure patients
UNDP Chief

By Staff Writer Karafa Badjie, Banjul
Paid for And Commissioned by the
Freedom Newspaper.

The new UNDP representative to the Gambia received a bad welcome, with jubilant Ruling APRC supporters organizing a solidarity march to support Jammeh’s aids cure story. Thousands of supporters thronged the streets of the Capital City Banjul, during the weekend thanking God for giving President Jammeh the wisdom and spiritual powers to cure aids. The venue for the occasion was the July 22ND Square. These supporters chanted aids cure discovery slogans in the Gambia, while vowing that no amount of international media campaign can undermine the President’s aids cure discovery. While the new UN Banjul chief is yet to settle down, a government crowd are signaling him to either support the President’s aids breakthrough or shut his mouth as one APRC supporter told me at the  rally addressed by President Jammeh. President Jammeh has told his supporters that aids is curable and he had more surprises in days to come for Gambians and the world in particular. He says he had been given the mandate to cure aids sufferers and that since the discovery of his aids medicine, patients attended by him have recovered. The Gambian President branded his skeptics as enemies of progress, while he insists to cure more aids patients in the Gambia. Government ministers, Parliamentarians and party supporters took part in the aids cure discovery march. Across the country, it’s widely believe that the President had now found cure for aids.

The timing of such a march, is  raising eyebrows across the West African state.To many here, the Gambian leader is trying to tell the world that the Gambian populace bought  his aids cure story, while at the same time trying to caution the new UN envoy who is pretty new in this country. At the said march, which they say was intended to register a sign of appreciation to the President’s aids cure discovery, most of the speakers never bothered to promote positive living in the Gambia. The speakers were more concerned about the President’s so called aids cure and not the pandemic itself, which is ravaging Africa at this hour.

The Gambia, which had a population of less than 3 million people had been devastated by Hiv/aids. Aids statistics released by aids researchers in the Gambia, say more than 30 thousand Gambians are living with the dreadful disease. The first aids case was discovered in the Gambia in May of 1987, according to Health Ministry official records. Since then the country had witnessed a steady increase on its hiv infection rate. Already, close to five thousand Gambians have died from the disease, while the nation’s aids orphanage population is growing at an alarming proportion.

Despite international condemnation against President Jammeh’s aids cure discovery, the government, which is expected to compliment the global efforts to tackle the aids pandemic is on the other hand busy propagating mixed signals, which according to  observers  could lead to a  full blown aids crisis in the Gambia, as obtained in other Southern African countries, such as South Africa and Zimbabwe. On the side of Gambia, the aids spread is blamed on ignorance, culture, pre-arraigned marriages,risky behaviors, prostitution among others. The Presidential aids cure story, which is well publicized on national radio, television and the print media, is no doubt going to license the youth population who are hard hit by Hiv/Aids to ignore aids prevention mechanisms initiated by the United Nations and other anti aids campaigners.

A report released by the country’s National Aids Secretariat, which is headed by the President himself in 2004 says most of the aids cases registered in the Gambia were mainly found in Fonni, the President’s supposedly birth place, Basse and Farafenni. Most of those affected were said to be youths and pregnant women. In the case of Fonni, researches reported  about high cases of “sexually transmitted diseases” (STDS.) Condom use or safe sex practices were ignored in some localities, according to the researchers. Female genital mutilation or (FGM) is also common in the said region, which according to the researchers was a major contributing factor to the spread of Hiv. Most of the equipment used by the circumcisers were never sterilized or scientifically tested for such circumcisions.

As the APRC marchers retreated from their solidarity march, the UN chief and other NGOS engaged in the fight against HIV/Aids in this country are kind of dump founded by these developments. Many are opposed to the march, but dared make their views known publicly. They cited the unconducive political environment in the country characterized by lack of free speech or dissent. Making a statement against Jammeh’s aids cure discovery, might cost them their jobs. A UN official who recently publicly spoken against Jammeh’s aids cure story was kicked out of the country by the government. She was given 24 hours ultimatum to leave the Gambia or risked being deported.

In the Gambia today, the UN missions are faced with a lot of challenges. They either toe to the government’s dictates or risked being expelled from the country. The new UN Secretary General is being blamed in some quarters of being insensitive to his staff’s plight. The immediate filling of the vacant position in the Gambia, does not go down well with many aids activists here. They believe that the UN chief acted hastily by failing to tell the Gambian leader the unpleasant truth. “The UN should be in solidarity with their staff in situation like this one. What is the point of sending an envoy in a country which is undermining their aids programs? The UN Secretary needs to come here personally to see what’s happening on the ground. It’s waste of resources and time to finance any aids project in this country. The government is saying that there is cure for aids. What’s the point to fight aids when the principal actors- I mean the government are frustrating the UN’S efforts. The Secretary General should intervene now before the situation get out of hand. Sending an envoy to the Gambia is not a solution to the problem. Today’s aids cure solidarity march is a clear testimony that this government lack of seriousness to tackle aids. If the situation continues, some NGOS will relocate. That I can tell you.” said a head of an aids NGO in the Gambia.

Well, many argued that the UN is mandated to have a country representative in the Gambia, but all indications suggested that the Jammeh government careless about how organizations such as the UN reacts to their ongoing aids cure propaganda. The Friday aids cure march was just a tip of the iceberg. The President has assured the nation about his commitment not to yield to any outside pressure to abandon his aids cure mandate. As the situation appears, Hiv/Aids is no longer a nightmare in the Gambia. The President has succeeded in bringing fake hope to aids sufferers, their families and the general populace.

In the meantime, the President has curtailed his official activities just to attend to his aids patients. His aids cure medicines continue to dominate prime time news on the public media.The UK based research firm in the Gambia, The Medical Research Council (MRC) had tide its leaps to avoid running into trouble with the government. An official of the research institute told me that they were aware of the dangers poised by the President’s aids cure announcement, but the current political climate don’t permit them to comment on the story. The official referred me to their Director Dr.Kora who was indisposed at the material time.

Some Gambians interviewed in the streets of Serre-Kunda said they want to believe that the President was insaned, who wants to use his supporters to sell his misleading messages. “This is a sick President who wants to his supporters to join him in his madness. My own ten year son cannot believe his aids cure story. When a country is headed by a sick President, this type of situations are inevitable. His supporters are being compelled to believe his story, but in reality there is no cure for aids. The President himself knows that he is lying. I look forward the day, when these APRC marchers will disown him publicly. Falsehood never last long. Jammeh is sick and he needs urgent help before he throw his pants.” said passersby.

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Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, May 29, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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1 user commented in " Breaking News:New UNDP Boss Receives Bad Reception!President Jammeh blasts those against his aids cure! "

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in April 21st, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Hi mr editor, i often read your paper online. I think is important to look and talk about the Cure for HIV infection by the Gambian president with an open mind. Comments can be predujiced if one looks at where one stands. Anyway i know the UN system is ful of intellecuals and similarly the gambia government has intellectuals. These two bodies no doubt has good intention for mankind. Is important for the media to lead this two groups to see a point. Over thousand people cannot just after an individual without something fruitful not been smell. Is not possible!! There must something! I urge intellectuals in the UN system to take a look again with an open mind .Mankind’s HIV infection is beyond expecting it to be possibly cured by convention medice only. The entire mankind is on a struggle for survival against HIV, so lets expect cure from any corner or level of man’s intellectual stance. Regards Omar Lamine

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