Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Did Jammeh abandon Balla Jahumpa ?

Balla Jahumpa, Transport Minister
Serenading someone considered to be one of Jammeh's most reliable political ally and ardent supporter who appears to have been abandoned at a Banjul hospital suffering from what The Point newspaper described as "fractures in his backbone" is insensitive, deplorable and highly irresponsible of Jammeh and his entire APRC party apparatus.

The tour is proceeding in the Central River with political rallies, with drumming and singing the praise of Balla Jahumpa instead of evacuating him to Dakar or Europe immediately.  This is one more proof that Jammeh is concerned about Jammeh and no one else.

Balla Jahumpa, according to The Point newspaper reports, has been in an accident involving a cow that was crossing the road while on official duties as member of Jammeh's entourage in his capacity as Minister of Roads and Transport.

Up to the writing of this blog post, there has been no official pronouncement of the incident in any of the regime's news outlets.  The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) said nothing about the accident, and neither did the Daily Observer which acts as the regime's mouthpiece.  The Point's reports were based on anonymous sources within the administration.

Under normal circumstances, we would have stayed mute until we hear from Jammeh in the form of an official statement that can be attributable to him.  There were unconfirmed and conflicting reports as the news began to filter through Easter Monday suggesting that Jammeh had "suspended" and others said he had "cancelled" the tour.  What is known now is that the Roads Minister has been admitted to the RVH in Banjul together with other accident victims.  Who else is involved in the accident is unclear, and how many of the others have been admitted is equally unclear.

We are prompted to post this blog to express our disgust at how the accident victims have been treated.  It is tempting to start comparing this accident to the 1981 helicopter accident involving Sir Dawda, when there was  loss of life and many injuries.  As far as we know, there has been no death in this case.  We can, however, draw parallels in that in 1982 all official functions were cancelled, and all attention focused on the accident victims.  Those who were to be evacuated to Dakar were flown immediately, and those who needed first aid were treated on the spot.

Here, we have the president proceeding with his political tour to save his political career while one of his most sincere and committed supporter is abandoned in an ill-equipped and under-resourced hospital with a delicate and life-threatening spinal injury, according to the Point newspaper.