THE MAN WHO PROVIDED SECURITY TO THE LATE POPE JOHN PAUL, THE II, IN FEBRUARY OF 1992, LATER TOPPLED JAWARA FROM POWER; DESTROYED THE GAMBIA, THE ECONOMY AND RENDERED HER CITIZENS IMPOVERISHED!
The pale looking armed Gendarmerie officer formerly called Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh, was the head of the security detail attached to the visiting late Pope John Paul, the second. The Pope was in Banjul to witness the country’s Independence Silver Jubilee celebrations under Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s administration. Jammeh was in charge of the Pope’s security including his entourage. This was one of the major assignments he ever handled as a security agent.
It would be recalled that Pope John Paul, the II, visited The Gambia in February of 1992. Two years later, the man, who was tasked to provide him with security Yahya Jammeh, overthrew the democratically elected government of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Jammeh then installed a military Council called the AFPRC, which he served as its Chairman. Jammeh has been in power since July of 1994.
Twenty one years down the road, Jammeh emerged as Africa’s most corrupt, brutal, heartless, and isolated despot. He also plundered Gambia’s ailing economy—by controlling ninety percent of the economy.
Today, Gambia’s economy and the decayed infrastructure have collapsed. International aid to the impoverished West African nation has been curtailed—thanks to Jammeh’s sheer greed and endemic corruption.
Donor and financial institutions have criticized the regime in Banjul for its lack of accountability, transparency, and probity. These were the key words Jammeh bandit around, when he illegally seized power from Jawara. Jammeh steals from government coffers, which he in turn uses to patronize folks loyal to his dying regime.
As of July of 2015, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concern over Gambia’s increasing debt and declining Foreign Reserves. The regime has less than two months income cover at its offshore account. This means the Jammeh government is heading towards a complete shutdown in the absence of an IMF bailout.
Under the circumstances, it would be virtually impossible for the IMF to lend money to the Jammeh regime because The Gambia has maxed out its borrowing limit with the IMF. Jammeh is screwed for real. He cannot survive the economic heat.
The sectors that contribute to the nation’s socio economic development have collapsed. Tourism is a total failure. The decline in tourism can be attributed to Jammeh’s hostile ghetto policies towards the sector. For example, Jammeh’s repeated threats to jail, torture, behead gays and lesbians have scared westerners from visiting the country. His aggravated homosexual laws against the gay community is another contributing factor towards the decline of tourism in Banjul. The demolition of bars, restaurants and lodges belonging to tourists, investors, and Gambians have also ruined the sector.
Tourism needs a total facelift. Unless Jammeh stops his insane and erratic behavior, tourists will not come to The Gambia. The sector will continue to register appalling revenue.
Agriculture is another backbone of the economy. About seventy percent of The Gambian population earn their living through agriculture. The advent of Yahya Jammeh’s regime marks the end of agriculture. Many farmers have given up farming. They have been transformed as Jammeh’s modern day slaves. They work on Jammeh’s farmlands. In every Gambian community, Jammeh owns a farmland. Rural folks work on Jammeh’s farms for free labor without being compensated for their sweat.
Prior to his hijacking of the collapsed agricultural sector, Jammeh’s regime could not pay farmers for their sold produce. The regime still owes money to farmers.
The Gambia, a cocaine hub nation in the region, is today struggling with a major economic recession. The national treasury is completely empty to a point that the regime couldn’t service its domestic and international loans.
Foreign remittances have declined overtime. This is attributed to a protest spearheaded by diasporan Gambians, to cripple Jammeh’s regime economically. The protest has had a devastating blow on the dictatorship. Now the regime is resorting to begging its citizens to come home and resettle in the name of an amnesty extended to them by the dictator.
The only sector Jammeh is today relying on to keep his government in business is the private sector. Sadly, this particular sector is virtually dead. Hostile business environment and over taxation is driving local and international investors from settling in the country. Businesses are paying taxes and yet the regime is not serving the needs and aspirations of taxpayers. This is evident on the bad roads, poor swage system, the appalling health delivery system, acute water shortages, and electricity cuts, and lack of reliable transportation.
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) even now taxes people for using the beach side for picnic parties. D1, 500 dalasi is the fix amount for beach party taxes. Ridiculous, right? Welcome to The Gambia, under Yahya Jammeh’s watch. Jammeh has failed. He should just pack and leave for heaven sake. We rest our case!