Friday, June 20, 2014

Mass arrests of FAO and WFP project managers - DEVELOPING

Reports reaching us indicate that all FAO, WFP and UN project managers who are responsible for the implementation of the food security and school feeding program have been arrested.  We have names of two of those project managers.

The European Union's sponsored MDG 1c Project plans to spend € 7.6 million this year to help the most vulnerable areas and communities of the North Bank, Central and Upper regions of The Gambia, targeting to impact 3,725 rural farmers.  The project was the subject of our blog of this morning.

The government of the Gambia and the European Union had agreed in 2013 that the project will be implimented by two of the EU trusted partners in development i.e. the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Feed Program.  Gambian project managers were hired by the FAO and WFP to implement the projects that involves crop production and school feeding program that provide food to school children.

How many project managers and staff were involved in this mass arrest is unclear.  What we do know at this moment is that Mrs. Amie Jallow-Jatta, FAO's national project manager of FSCA and Kujeh Manneh.  The acronynim FSCA stands for Food Security through Commercial Agriculture.

Both Mrs. Jallow-Jatta and Huja Manneh, together with the rest have been released on a one million dalasi bail.  Our source has also indicated that government has 'dismissed all of them' even when they are all UN-FAO-WFP employees.  This may be a bizarre development but it appears to be a deliberate ploy to interrupt the smooth implementation of the project which have been free-standing and protected of government interference.  All project documents have been seized by the security forces.

The Jammeh regime has been engaged in a tussle with the EU over the country's deplorable human rights record.  The EU has effectively stopped most financial assistance to a struggling regime, except view projects that are either implimented by NGOs or agencies within the UN system.   Jammeh appears to be targeting the EU-financed and UN-implimented projects.  It is easier target locally-recruited Gambians working for these projects even if their salaries are being paid by the European Union or the United Nations.