Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jammeh disappointed with outcome of Scottish referendum

Union Jack and Scottish flag
News coming from one of the tiniest of British colonial outposts called The Gambia that became independent from Britain almost fifty years ago is that the country's dictator that decreed to be referred by his full name and title of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jamus Junkung Jammeh Nasiru Deen, Babili Mansa.  'Nasiru Deen' means guardian of the Muslim faith and 'Babili Mansa' is bridge builder.

The idiosyncratic dictator of the smallest country in Africa, apart from being famous for claiming to have discovered the cure for HIV/AIDS, is also famous for his incessantly false claims that after 400 years under British colonialism, Gambia has only one high school and one hospital to show for it, none of which is, of course, true.

The 1783 Peace of Paris gave The Gambia to Britain and there were two main referral hospitals and numerous health centers scattered across the Gambia.

The Scottish independence referendum revealed that Jammeh's problem was with England and not the United Kingdom because he was not only rooting for Alex Salmond and his Nationalists to win the referendum but reports have it that a congratulatory note had already been drafted ready for release once the announcement was made.

Evidently, Jammeh had learned a lesson from his famous 2000 letter to George W. Bush on election night when Florida election officials were busy counting chads and dimple chads.  We all remember that the world had to wait from November 8th to December 12th 2000 before the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Bush won over Gore for the presidency.

The fact that Scotland failed to leave the Union deprived Jammeh a certain schadenfreude amidst the turmoil of the past few days leading to the referendum.  A close source is revealing that tomorrow, Monday September 22nd was to have been declared a public holiday in The Gambia in celebration of what Jammeh thought was a victory by the Scottish Nationalists over his arch-enemy, England.  It goes without saying that Monday will be a normal working day.  The public holiday was not the only casualty.

Jammeh's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech also required some adjustments to remove the section that would have cited Scotland as one more example of the exploitative nature of English colonialism.

The Gambian dictator annual pilgrimage to the UNGA is always a highwater mark for Gambian dissident groups, gay and human rights activists because of its highly inflammatory and bigoted content which has led the United States UN Ambassador to take to twitter admonishing Jammeh for his "hate speech" against gays and lesbians.  It is also a speech that is almost always full of praise for Taiwan and also advances the cause of the country to be admitted to the World Health Organization as a necessary first step towards ending the island's diplomatic isolation.

A source in Banjul is suggesting that special attention be paid to this year's speech because this would be the first speech in twenty years that Taiwan is not a diplomatic partner of The Gambia which, it is expected, the speech will ignore completely.  The same source made a very fine and important point which will have a bearing on both the quality and scope of Jammeh's speech this year.

During the Jawara era, speeches of this nature is the collective effort of key ministries with the Secretary General's or Office of the President acting as a clearinghouse.  With Jammeh, it is Secretary General who is the drafter of the speech, but this time around it is being reported that Njogu Bah, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry will be in charge of the speech.

The challenge facing the new speechwriter, according to our source is "how much will be devoted to gays etc. now that Taiwan is no longer on their cards."  Njogu Bah, according to the same source, " has been chosen to be the fall guy in case it (the speech) doesn't go down well."

Gay-bashing by Yaya Jammeh goes down well alongside his anti-British and anti-American tirades which are designed to curry favors from the Gulf States now that he has withdrawn The Gambia from her almost half a century of being an integral part of the Commonwealth.  He, also, abruptly broke a 20-year relationship with Taiwan that was cordial all throughout until the day in November 2013.  

This year's UN General Assembly speech will be closely monitored to see whether the Gambian dictator will heed the pleas of Amnesty International and other human rights organization not to sign the recently passed bill by the Gambian parliament into law that imposes life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality", a bill that many rights organizations consider to be nothing more than a "state-sponsored homophobia."