Sunday, January 11, 2015

Are locally-recruited staff at Gambian Embassy being scapegoated?

A locally-recruited staff of the Washington DC Embassy, an American of Filipino decent, was forced to resign by the Deputy Head of Mission, Sheikh Omar Faye, after numerous years of service, according to online paper reports. 

The staff was accused of leaking information to the online papers, and others opposed to the regime of Yaya Jammeh about the travel arrangements of the recently appointed Foreign Minister, Neneh MacDouall-Gaye, who was resident in the United States as refugee from the same government.  The circumstances surrounding her secret departure and subsequent appointment, all as a matter of days, are still unclear. 
The question that immediately comes to mind is why would an American-Filipino, who has no apparent stake in the politics of The Gambia, and appears to have never visited this tiny West African country, pass information to online newspapers operated by opponents of the regime.

By all accounts, the locally-recruited staff, though small and dwindling in number, are the heavy-lifters.  Those remaining may, perhaps, be feeling that they are being scapegoated by the Deputy Head of Mission and his Gambian staff because they cannot point fingers at any one among themselves for fear of recrimination from Banjul.  Therefore, it is more convenient to blame mismanagement of, and failures in, handling Embassy information on locally recruited instead of civil service staff.
The fact that Neneh MacDouall-Gaye transformed herself from a refugee to Foreign Minister of the same dictator that made her a refugee in the first instance is the baffling part of the story.  It has been established that she flew on the dime of the Gambian taxpayers and not on a ‘cheap air ticket’ as she claimed, and was issued with a temporary Gambian passport from the Embassy.