I was watching president Donald Trump’s press conference through the CNN live Facebook feed. Mr. Trump made an interesting statement during his hour-long press conference. He talks about draining the swamp in DC. That his administration has imposed a five-year lobbying ban on officials serving his government. Mr. Trump also talked about his administration’s plans to impose a lifetime ban on foreign government lobbying. Bad news for US lobbyists. 

Mr. Trump’s announcement will no doubt cause panic in the lobbying business industry. US Lobbyists make fortune from poor African governments. Millions of dollars often go into the pockets of lobbyists.

President Trump did not state when the ban on foreign government lobbying will come into force. He told news men that his government will impose a ban on foreign government lobbying.

The former government of dictator Yahya Jammeh has wasted millions of Gambian taxpayers money on engaging the services of foreign lobbyists. Repressive and corrupt African governments often use lobbyists to polish their dented image in DC, in an attempt to lobby support from the US authorities. 

Under president Trump’s era, foreign government lobbying is going to be banned, based on what we heard from Mr. Trump’s presentation today. Trump’s statement is going to be welcomed by anti corruption activists across the African continent and beyond. Funds meant to develop African countries are being wasted on public relations stunt. 

The government of president Adama Barrow should not waste its time engaging lobbyists. President Trump has signaled his intension of stopping lobbyists from exploiting poor and corrupt African governments. There are competent Gambians overseas who can sell the image of the country.

As long as African governments continue to play by the democratic playbook, there wouldn’t be no need to hire a third party to sell one’s country’s image. Until then, we will wait and see if president Trump would be able to impose the intended ban on foreign government lobbying. Lobbyists are very powerful in DC. But arguably, it should be noted that president Trump is an unconventional president. 

Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai

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