Friday, June 6, 2014

Jammeh's acts of irresponsibility: From ignoring US deadline to abandoning diplomatic staff and students

President Obama, in a January 2014 statement, announced the First US - Africa Summit by proposing to host 47 African leaders in Washington from 5 - 6 August.   The purpose, according to the White House is to build on progress realized since the American president's last summer's trip to Africa.

In spite of the fact that he has lobbied for a White House invitation since he seized power twenty years ago, and the importance of the relevance of an agenda exclusively devoted to the problems of Africa, Jammeh is apparently the only leader who has failed to meet the May 19th, 2014 registration deadline.  Several reminders have apparently been ignored, a pattern of behavior endemic in a regime that prides itself of 'in-your-face' approach to diplomacy. 

Jammeh lack of social etiquette is well known.  Protocol requires and human decency dictates that The Gambia observe the deadline set by the host because, even for America, hosting this number of Heads of State is no easy task.  Waiting for the last minute only to disrupt plans and arrangements for the host is rude and unbecoming any delegation.

We have written recently about the Gambia's diplomatic presence in Washington with a dysfunctional Embassy that lacks the presence of a diplomatic staff capable of engaging Washington, diplomatically, and any engagement seems to be of a personal nature that revolves around or relating to the private requirements of Yaya Jammeh, his wife and two children. 

The welfare of the diplomatic staff is scandalous.  The Deputy Head of Mission was abruptly withdrawn for consultation, leaving eight children and a wife behind.  He's been gone for months, and while in Banjul, he was dismissed thus, of course, losing his salary and benefits leaving his wife and children in a huge immigration limbo.

Another staff who recently passed away was posted in Washington with a litany of terminal diseases.  The officer never worked a day at the Embassy because of his degenerative health ailments.  He spent his entire stay in and out of hospital until he finally succumbed.  The Embassy sent $24,000 to send the body to Banjul but left the wife (who is very ill and cannot speak a word of English) and at least children behind.  

Between the two officers, there are a total of 10 dependent children and two others whose employment authorizations have expired which cannot be renewed because their father is no longer employed by the regime. The health and immigration challenges of these kids and their mothers are huge.  Therefore, to abandon them is a callous act that the regime must remedy as soon as possible.

These are not only irresponsible acts but they are inhumane and against the human rights of the wives and children who have been abandoned by the very government that brought them in Washington in the first instance.  It is a trademark of the Jammeh regime to abandon diplomatic staff abroad and cease paying tuition fees to students sponsored by the regime to study abroad.  These destitute Gambians are strewn across the globe from London, New Delhi, Taipei to Caracas.  Thanks to Yaya Jammeh.