Tuesday, August 12, 2014

US Embassy in Banjul to Jammeh : Stop manipulating images of President and First Lady Obama, retrieve T-shirts

We have seen them being worn by supporters of Yaya Jammeh when he arrived at the Banjul International Airport.  Those T-shirts.

T-shirts with imprints of the now famous photo of  the President of the United States and First Lady with Yaya Jammeh and wife were distributed to supporters before Jammeh disembarked from the plane for purely personally political purposes.

How many of these T-shirts were printed in the United States prior to Jammeh's departure last Saturday is unknown but, according to a source, "hundreds were printed with thousands more on order for future delivery".

The U.S  government, through its Embassy in Banjul, has instructed the regime of Yaya Jammeh in a "cease and desist" letter demanding that the T-shirts be collected and not to be circulated any more.   They are manipulative designed to suggest approval or endorsement of President Obama, Michelle Obama or the White House.

We will recall the US government issued a statement immediately following the end of the US - Africa Summit. reminding the African Heads of State that the photographic images are for their personal use only, and not they should not be manipulated in any way.  The images, the warning continues, "may not be used for political or commercial materials...products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Lady or the White House."

As we write, the APRC Party militants are busy collecting the T-shirts from the Green Boys and Green Girls, including those shown here.  The official mouthpiece of the regime, The Daily Observer, has been busy pulling down all images plastered across its pages when they covered the 'tumultuous reception of the dictator at the airport.

Finally, Jammeh's behavior of exploiting the only occasion he had, throughout the Summit to come in direct personal contact with the American President, has left a poor taste in the mouth of White House.  They feel duped by Jammeh, and he may not be the only one.

Other tyrants who made it to the White House may have similar ideas of manipulating the White House photos for their own political ends.  We hope the White House has also learned its lesson so that future invitations are much more selective and restrictive. Dictators of flawed character like Jammeh are not worth being invited.