The main motive behind the printing of these new currency notes in 2015 was to commemorate 20 years of Yahya Jammeh’s rule as president of the Gambia. His portraits on the obverse side of the D200, D100, D50, D20 and D10 notes is a constant reminder of the 22 years of tyrannical rule that many of us want to forget. For many who had endured untold sufferings under his reign of terror, our new revolution will not be complete if we continue to be reminded of Jammeh’s battered image in our daily lives.
We don’t want to be reminded constantly about the repressive nature of the crooked dictator who looted billions of dalasi stashed away in many secret bunkers dug out in his farms located in various regions countrywide. Most of the money reportedly looted are still held inside the country under close guard by those still loyal to him. Changing the currency as a matter of urgency could be a powerful weapon in the fight to recover or render useless some of the stolen D4 billion during his tenure in office.
Since the introduction of Jammeh’s currencies, printed by De La Rue International, there have been nothing but economic hardship, profiteering in the currency markets and undue pressures on the dalasi aggravating its volatility in the exchange markets. The continuous weakness of our currency is symptomatic of the fragility and prevalent mismanagement of the depressed economy where 83% of the country’s wealth is still in the hands of less than 3 per cent of the population who are now actively building new alliances with the Barrow government to continue enriching themselves.
Removing the face of ex-president Jammeh and printing new notes will obviously cost money, but the psychological cost of being constantly reminded of the repressive and autocratic nature of his reign of terror for the past 22 years have far greater societal significance than any economic benefits realized to continue keeping his portrait on the notes. The indisputable fact is that the Dalasi had been under tremendous pressures during the time of Jammeh making the currency to loose most of its value overtime and branded by many as a ‘bad’ currency.
There are important national symbols of historical value that we can use in our new currency notes to reflect our newly found democracy. Each country has its own currency but printing more currencies every time there is economic difficulties is not the answer to our economic system plagued by sustained mismanagement and corruption. The State House was reduced to a mini bank during the time of the ex-president and how much money faked money are in existence today is still a matter of conjecture.
The public will soon stop using these notes if something is not done urgently to remove the face of the deposed dictator from any future currency notes. Our fight for a new Gambia should not only be at the Courts but at the nation’s Central Bank as well as the hidden bunkers scattered all over the country where millions and millions of dalasi belonging to Yaya Jammeh are reportedly stashed away. The Government of Adama Barrow is commended for making the right moves to recover the stolen money. Getting rid of his portrait from our currency notes is necessary to heal the wounds.
Written By An Insider