Editorial:Jammeh is not grateful to the Venezuelan gov’t! Why concealing gift?

Jammeh conceals Venezuelan    Wade with the Iranian
gift worth millions!!!                             Leader

With all the nice attributes associated to his newly  found Venezuelan friends, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh is concealing the millions of dollars extended to the impoverished West African country by the Venezuelan government. While describing his recent visit as one of the best trips he ever had since coming to power, Jammeh is yet to tell Gambians as to how many millions he collected in the name of our dear country and its people. His own protocol officers earlier leaked the funds which  were given to the country by the Venezuelan leader. Jammeh is not sincere to the government of Venezuela and its people. An honest leader who worth his salt would have announced the said gift extended to the nation on arrival at the airport, but Jammeh is apparently concealing the gift from Gambians. From 1994 to date, he has embezzled millions of dollars from state coffers. What Jammeh fails to realize is that these funds he is concealing from Gambians would come to light sooner or later. There are members of his delegation who are keeping  track of funds handed to him in the name of the Gambia. A day would come he Jammeh would  be held accountable for these funds. One of the main reasons why Western countries had suspended aids to the Gambia is due to the regime’s lack of transparency, bad governance and institutionalized corruption. No serious government  should be wasting  its time and resources to  fund a corrupt regime like the one we have in the Gambia. The Gambia is being denied development by Jammeh and his bunch of failed cronies, whose primary ambition today is to reap-off the already collapsed Treasury Department.

Faced by international isolation, President Jammeh has no alternative but to sell his soul to terrorist recruiting nations. He has mortgaged the Gambia for his own selfish interest. His best friends today are considered as enemies of the civilized world. Jammeh is tempted by money and personal aggrandizement to sell our country. Yes, the Gambia has been sold, no doubt about that. We used to have good foreign policies, but with the coming of Jammeh, the country has lost its smooth diplomatic relationship with the civilized world. The donor community are employing wait and see situation on the Gambia’s fragile democracy. No one wants to invest in a country, which is politically and economically unstable. Besides, the lack of stability, the government has also  created the conditions for insecurity, with its claims of coups and counter coup stories.

Be it Venezuela, Iran and Syria should not waste their time supporting a government, which is not accountable to its people. The government of the day has no credibility so to speak. Gambians and friends of the Gambia have lost confidence and respect for this failed administration.  There is no amount of lobby initiated by Jammeh can change the minds and hearts of the civilized world, including the oppressed Gambian population about his governance’s bad records.  In the Gambia, the rule of law is under attack. Judges, magistrates, members of the judiciary, the police and other law enforcement agencies are answerable to the President. The President in most cases determined who should be arrested, jailed or executed!!! Judicial staff who tried to assert their independence are usually fired.

Bilateral relationship between Venezuela, Iran, Syria and the Gambia  is not in the best interest of our people, but Jammeh’s own interest. It’s about time for Venezuela, Iran and Syria to make a follow up to the funds they are handing  to Jammeh if they really mean well for the Gambia and her people. Yahya Jammeh as a person and the Gambia are two different entities. Gifts meant for the Gambia and Yahya Jammeh should be separable. In most cases, Jammeh would poised as if these gifts were extended to him and not the nation. So many millions have gone missing  over the years. It’s imperative that nations helping this isolated government to ensure that funds extended to the Gambia reaches the hard hit poverty stricken citizens.

Even though, Venezuela, Iran and the Syrian’s foreign policies don’t win our respect and administration, it’s morally wrong for President Jammeh to receive monies  in the name of the Gambia from the above named nations without giving credit to them. Despite their dirty foreign policies,  Jammeh should be bold and sincere enough to tell Gambians financial gestures extended to the nation by these countries.

No one is saying that the Gambia should not befriend these nations, but it should be based on truth, justice, fair play and decency. The personal interest of President Jammeh should not override the national interest. We want a leader who  would report or declare  funds he collected in the name of the country to its people. We don’t want a  leader who would personalized state funds as his personal property.

The leaders of these nations are aware of Jammeh’s “get rich or die” ambition. As a result of this, they are being cautious about  the sincerity of Jammeh’s recent bi-lateral ties with them. No serious investor from Iran, Venezuela or Syria has  so far visited this country since the signing of the bilateral relationship. Jammeh’s foreign policy is a joke. It’s not based on principle at all. Jammeh can be best described as a “Diplomatic Prostitute” who sells his country for his own personal interest.

Senegal’s diplomatic relationship with Iran is paying off. The citizens of the French speaking country are benefiting from Iran’s financial gestures extended to their country. Business is booming in Senegal. The Iranian government has spearheaded developmental projects for the people of Senegal. Yet, President Wade is not compromising the sovereignty of Senegal. He never insults the West because Iran is extending helping hands to them. Wade never abandoned his colleagues on the war on terror. But Jammeh did. Jammeh calls on Muslims to resist any form of war initiated in the name of  using Islam to fight terrorism. The records are there to substantiate this report.

During a visit to Senegal in 2006, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his country attaches much significance to relations with African states, Muslim countries in particular and further described Senegal as a friendly and brother state.”

A local paper in Senegal further reported that”Ahmadinejad also voiced Iran’s preparedness to execute joint projects in Senegal, specially in the energy and industry sectors, and expressed hope that the visit to Tehran by the Senegalese President and his entourage would result in new strides for the implementation of the agreements already signed by the two sides. He stated pleasure with the invitation of his Senegalese counterpart to pay a visit to that country and expressed hope that his trip to Dakar would take place at the same time the future meeting of the two countries’ joint cooperation commission is scheduled to hold a session in that country and that his visit would yield new and practical fruits in various grounds of bilateral relations.”

For his part, the Senegalese President elaborated on the significance of all-out relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and stated his country’s full readiness for the implementation of the previous joint venture agreements in Senegal. He also added that Senegal attaches much significance to cooperation with Iran in areas of energy, refinery and petrochemical industries, establishment of direct air and sea lines between the two countries, customs affairs, industry particularly in the field of auto-manufacturing, steel production, locomotive and wagon manufacturing and training of technical manpower.

Today, there are numerous Iranian projects in Senegal-be it educational, energy, auto manufacturing the list goes on and on.  President Jammeh don’t mean to tell us that he is not aware of these Iranian projects in Dakar. The same President Jammeh is likely to blackmail Wade to his new friends. Wade is a senior statesman who loved his country and its people, unlike Jammeh whose preoccupation is to enrich himself to the detriment of the nation.

Even if Iran, Venezuela  or Syria happens to open an embassy in the Gambia today, we can bet that no meaningful development would be brought into the country. Funds meant for the country would be transferred into Jammeh’s secret bank accounts. Jammeh’s biggest hobby today is living a fat life and  taking care of his zoo. He has neglected pressing national duties for unexplained reasons. Though, many believe he might be suffering from unsound mind, the least we expect from Jammeh is to deliver or call it quits. We cannot afford to have an unproductive president at the state house.

One thing these countries should bear in mind is that President Jammeh don’t have a permanent friend. He has permanent interest. Taiwan of all Taiwan has been sidelined by Jammeh these days. He hardly talks about Taiwan, a nation which elevated him from destitute to where he is today. Taiwan was among the first countries who funded the activities of the then military junta. At the time, major donors partners had turned their backs to the country. Jammeh’s mandate was opposed since he came to power through coup.

The islanders acting on a  promise of winning them seat at the UN nations, extended its check book diplomacy to the Gambia. Millions of dollars were given to the former transformed military turned civilian rulers to sell Taiwan’s image to the world body. Today, Taiwan is regretting for having wasted its funds on a project, which never received any international recognition. They befriended the wrong people with vicious desires.

Little did Taiwan knew  at the time that the Gambia too has its own image problem. In a bid to win the confidence of the West it hired US lobbyists to sell the country’s battered image to US Congressmen, key policy makers and others. In a span of five years, Jammeh had fired about three lobbyists. He accuses them of not delivering the goods. Our good friend the American John Aycoth never wanted to let the case go like that. He resorted to court action. His case with the Gambian government is pending in the US courts. A judgment is expected soon.

Donor partners should be weary of President Jammeh and his allies. They are not honest at all. Gambia’s development pace has been hindered by these bandits hell bent on lining their pockets to the expense of the nation. There is a total economic and political collapse in the Gambia. No one seems to know when the economic time bomb would explode. The writings are on the wall for change. Almost, every Gambian you talked to would laments about the growing hardship in the country, characterized by lack of leadership direction. The current administration has proven to be incompetent to run the affairs of the country. Change would  knock on their doors by surprise!!!

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Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, June 27, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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