Friday, May 29, 2015

Jammeh's daughter's tuition is $ 80,000 per year

Aerial view of the boarding school 
Leman School's swimming pool 
Some of the students at the Leman Manhattan Boarding School

The prides itself of not getting into or publishing the private lives of individuals unless they are directly relevant to their public functions as public officials.  Jammeh is no exception despite the fact that we are 100% opposed to  his style and content of governance.

When Jammeh seized power in 1994, his justification of his illegal act was that the previous administration of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara was corrupt.  The Father of the Nation was accused of owning a house in  London's Haywards Heath in the early 1990s worth  less than $300,000 in today's prices, according to a real estate agent.  Compare it to Yaya Jammeh's Potomac Mansion worth over $3.4 million in 2015 prices.   This qualifies Jammeh as a first class hypocrite.

It is interesting to note that the Leman International School's recruitment areas appear to be outside the American market.  There are only three American students in the entire school.  The rest of the students come from places like the Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and China.

A second hypocritical move by Jammeh occured last year when he enrolled his eldest daughter to the exclusive one and only Manhattan's boarding school named Leman International Boarding School.  The tuition plus health insurance and incidentals cost US $ 80,000 annually.  In Gambian dalasi, this is equal to D 3,600,000 annually.

In a country that is one of the poorest in the world with many living on $1.25 per day or $ 456.25 annually.  What Jammeh pays for one year  of tuition for his daughter to attend the exclusive school in Manhattan, is equivalent to feeding 64,000 average Gambians who live below the poverty live for a year.  I will leave the opulent style for you to be the judge, and whether is it right for Jammeh to continue to inflict pain on the Gambian people.

Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara's children were all born at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Banjul, The Gambia.  All of them, to the last were educated locally up to the High School level before they went abroad for their University education.   Jammeh when he seized power complained that government ministers transported to and from school in their official cars which, he said, was unfair.  Here we have Jammeh educating his daughter at a boarding school who's tuition is more expensive than Harvard University.  

Meanwhile, Gambians continue to keep a blind eye on the atrocities and Jammeh's corruption and hypocrisy.  When will it all end?

For a detailed description of the school, please check the link here

Joint Parliamentary Committee (PAC/PEC) is on a witch-hunting expedition

Mr, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Jammeh's hatchet man
To watch the so-called Public Accounts and Public Enterprises (PAC/PEC), the Joint Parliamentary Committees from afar gives one the impression that they are hard at work trying to weed out corruption but a closer look reveals quite the opposite.

First, the membership of the PAC/PEC is the first indication that it is a deliberated constructed body not to weed out corruption per se, but to protect from scrutiny and accountability, the Jammeh cronies embedded in every public enterprise.  The membership is stacked with relatives and staunch protectors of the person of Yaya Jammeh.  Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the Chairman of the PAC/PEC is one such character.

Second, the PAC/PEC appears to be deliberately targeting certain individuals and officials of public enterprises with biased and leading questions that suggest culpability instead of attempting to understand the audit figures and the independent and qualifying statements of the auditors with the objective of reaching the truth and not to cover the corrupt practices of Yaya Jammeh and his business cronies.

The cherry picking of candidates to be grilled before the joint committee became obvious when the Managing Director of NAWEC was allowed to describe the organizational chart of his organization and abruptly excused without any question about the financial performance of one of the poorly managed with highly dubious business transactions that involves Jammeh and his business partner named Muhamed Bazzi.

The Managing Director of NAWEC was spared the pain and embarrassment of having to explaining the ownership of the Brikama plant.  Was it sold by Bazzi to NAWEC?  What are the terms and conditions of sale, if indeed the ownership transfer did occur?  Did Jammeh force the sale?  These are questions that the joint committee should have asked the MD of NAWEC but failed to.  We hope more light will be shed on this and other transactions by the restructuring exercise scheduled to take place under the IMF bail-out - assuming that the staff monitored program is not derailed before it starts in earnest because of recent development on the monetary front.

In responding to questions by National Assembly members during the tabling of the Appropriations Bill of 2015, former Finance Minister, Kebba Touray revealed - perhaps inadvertently - in explaining the ballooning domestic debt revealed that the government had to "spend on behalf of NAWEC.  The size of this expenditure, according to the Minister was equivalent to 2.5% of GDP which we estimate to be in the region of D 783,000,000.  The nature of the expenditure was never explained - neither by former Finance Minister Touray nor by the current Managing Director of NAWEC.

Another public enterprise that has a lot to answer to is the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).  PAC/PEC will be doing a great service to the Gambian people by asking the Managing Director about the purchase of the two ferries "Aljamdu" and "Kansala" that are currently moored on the Banjul seafront because they were ill-fitted and ill-designed to be put to service.  Several millions of dollars have been spent or committed that involved a Greek company that entered into a joint venture with GPA. The details of the joint ventureship are unknown to the Gambian people and why the two ferries are still moored.  The ownership of these vessels as well as the joint venture should have been the center of the probing of PAC/PEC.

In addition to NAWEC and GPA,  PAC/PEC should be probing the likes of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, Gamtel/Gamcell, Civil Aviation Authority and Gambia Groundnut Corporation.  Instead, PAC/PEC chose to go after the disbanded Gambia National Lottery (GNL) and other small fries because Jammeh's conflict of interest and his blatant corrupt practices will be exposed should the joint parliamentary committee conduct a serious probes into NAWEC, GPA, SSHFC, CAA and others.

We will continue to monitor PAC/PECs biased and uneven application of  parliamentary rules and procedures to advance the partisan politics and the financial interest of one man - Yaya Jammeh - instead of the interest of The Gambia and its people.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Africell gives Jammeh D 20 million for 2011 elections and D 10 million for current provincial tour

Africell (Gambia), one of the leading telecommunications companies in The Gambia is said to have spent D 20 million ($450,000) on the 2011 reelection campaign of Yaya Jammeh, according to a source.

In its Mission Statement, the company claim its aim is to "make telecommunication accessible to every Gambian at the most affordable rates" which is undoubtedly a laudable target but how can it be achieved with the sort of corporate irresponsibility on display when every extra costs will be borne by the customers.

Our source claims the payments by Africell (Gambia) went directly to the Gambian dictator and that company funds were not limited to the election campaign contributions only.  It extended beyond politics to include financing Jammeh's Vision 2016 tour which is arguably more of a political campaign trip than protecting and advancing the welfare of the rural population.

As expected of any habitual briber, Africell saw nothing wrong in dishing out another D 10 million ($225,000) recently in connection with the tour which, the Jammeh mouthpieces are always keen to remind opponents that the so-called "Dialogue (more like a Monologue) with the People" tour, is constitutionally mandated.    

The D 20 million figure should be a stark reminder to all, especially the leaders of the opposition, what they will be up against at the next elections if the playing field remains unlevel, as suggested by the kind of money that these corporate entities pour into the coffers of Yaya Jammeh who spends it to skew the elections.

Shame of Africell.  We will be looking at the $12 million debt that Gamtel incurred (internally) with numerous local banks.

We apologize for inadvertently indicating a higher US $ conversion figures in the initial published blog which we have rectified using the conversation rate of D 44 =1 US. Local forex market is in disarray due to presidential interference.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gambia in 1988; and what obtains today

This is a documentary of a rural transformation that was beginning to take shape in the Gambia in 1988, six years before Yaya Jammeh seized power illegally in 1994.  

If you want a visual conformation of a society that was independent and free of political coercion and intimidation of rural (as well as urban) dwellers, just watch this video.

It was a Gambia that had a president who presided over public policy and the necessary moral leadership to see through policy implementation, and not someone who governs by diktats or what is euphemistically referred to as 'executive orders'. 

One thing that strikes you immediately from the video is the absence of a single menacing military personnel of any kind, no law enforcement or national security personnel or enforcers who call themselves Governors, to keep citizens in check. 

A look at the faces in the video, you see happier and determined faces, who were free to pursue their lives, as they see fit, independent of the government.  Gambians were freer and happier then than they are now under a very repressive dictator.  The NGO community then comprised of Freedom From Hunger Campaign and other NGOs worked with local communities with little or no government intervention or interference. 

Even though we understand not a single word of the narrator, the visuals alone carried a strong message of independence and hard work of our rural women who have now been turned into slaves toiling in Yaya Jammeh's private farms across Gambia.

We must drive Jammeh out of State House and return Gambia to Gambians.

Please help us with a translation and a voice over from an expert videographer. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why Justice Amadi should resign or be fired

Justice Amadi 
The case against Momodou Sabally, the former Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service of The Gambia who also served as Minister of presidential affairs, is so frivolous, it is embarrassing.

Mr. Sabally is charged with economic crime and faces imprisonment and fines that range from a maximum of 3 years and/or several millions of dalasi in fines.

The crime he is alleged to have committed was to have caused the delay of the flight of the Vice President of The Gambia by 15 minutes from departing Johannesburg for Banjul.

The prosecutions handling of the case from the word go has been contemptuous of the court because of the irrelevance of their testimony to the case, in addition to the inordinate requests for adjournment.  The recent testimony of a government accountant's testimony that added nothing to the case except to confirm to the court that she paid the Mr. Sabally's per diem prior to traveling to South Africa to accompany the Vice President who was to represent Yaya Jammeh at the inauguration of the newly elected South African leader.

The final contemptuous act by the prosecution occured at the sitting of the court when the court was informed that the next prosecution witness was in the United States - no reason given as to why the witness was in the US - and thus the need to adjourn the case for the umpteenth time.  Adjournment of cases is a favorite tactic amounts to punishment through frustration of the accused.

At this point Justice Amadi adjourned the case to June 4th with a threat that if the prosecution's witness is not presented then, he (Amadi) is prepared to pack his bags and return to Nigeria which is a serious admission that the regime is expecting him to rule in favor of the prosecution - an admission of partiality which disqualifies him from sitting in judgement of the Momodou Sabally case and any other future case for that matter.

Justice Amadi, like other judges in the Special Criminal Court before him, has demonstrated that he is there to serve the political interest of the Jammeh regime and not in dispensing justice.  Otherwise the case should have been thrown out of court as a frivolous case.  We, therefore, demand that Justice Amadi resigns in the interest of justice.  If he fails to do so, he should be fired immediately.

Jammeh has lost legitimacy and credibility to govern

Sidi Sanneh 
Yaya Jammeh's decision to conduct a 16-day tour of rural Gambia, organized and financed by the state to shore up his sagging personal popularity and as head of state has turned out to achieve just the opposite. Compared to previous tours, this tour has been an abject failure, both in terms of turn-out and from the point of view of the message from him to Gambians.

Turn-out has been so poor this time around that Jammeh resorted to insulting villagers because of the rousing welcome they gave to the opposition United Democratic Party's recently concluded tour of the country.  By contrast, villagers came out voluntarily in large numbers and, in some cases, under the threat of reprisals from Jammeh's political operative.

Previous to the UDP tour, the People's Progressive Party organized a highly successful rally under the interim leadership of Omar A. Jallow (O.J.) when thousands of supporters and sympathizers ventured out to attend under various threats.  The opposition crowds who were previously cowed into submission by a highly repressive regime suddenly found the courage to defy the regime because of a courageous leadership in OJ that led the way.  The Interim Leader of the PPP immediately and publicly embraced the UDP stance against the dictatorship at Fass Njagga Choi.  He also was able to mobilize PPP supporters in the Nuimis and Jokadu areas to go to Fass Njagga Choi in solidarity with Ousainou Darboe, his comrade-in-arms.

Yaya Jammeh's 16-day tour was in reaction to the opposition's sudden resurgence because of the increasing lack of confidence in a regime that is displaying the characteristics of a rogue state with a high degree of criminality, in addition to being highly corrupt and incompetent.  And it is showing in the size of Jammeh's crowds which have dwindled remarkably signalling a widespread dissatisfaction of Gambians in Jammeh's failure to keep to his numerous promises since he seized power in 1994.

Gambians have finally started questioning the competence and the comportment of the leadership of the ruling party that seems to revolve around one single individual i.e. Jammeh whose selfishness is legendary.  The promotion of the ill-advised and ill-conceived Vision 2016 is seen by many farmers as a total fabrication and a cruel hoax by a regime that knows the objectives of food self-sufficiency at the end of this year is unattainable.

The regime is so unpopular that Yaya Jammeh has to resort to intimidation.  Farmers are coerced into attending meetings where they are insulted by an increasingly agitated dictator.  Farmers are joined by school children and civil servants who must line the streets of the urban area for hours as Jammeh enters the capital city of Banjul at the abruptly-curtailed tour.

Many sections of Gambian society have concluded that the Jammeh regime is illegitimate because of not how it obtained power but how it exercises it in the name of the electorate, and it is showing in the numbers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The term limit debate is not going away anytime soon

ECOWAS Summit in Accra
The proposal to limit presidential terms failed to garner the votes necessary to pass at the ECOWAS Summit held this week in the Ghana capital of Accra.

The proposal did not go past the Foreign Ministers' Meeting that always precede the Summit of the Heads of State.

It was at the Foreign Ministers Meeting when Gambia's Foreign Minister, Mrs. Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, expressed Yaya Jammeh's opposition to any term limit for ECOWAS presidents or for any African presidents for that matter.

Togo's foreign minister also objected to the idea.  Thus, the merits of the proposal were not debated as a result of the two strong objections from The Gambia and Togo.  As a result the Heads of State decided to "temporarily drop the proposal."

Lost in the announcement that the proposal has failed was the decision of the Summit to drop the proposal temporarily which suggests that the proposal to limit presidential terms will be taken up at an unspecified date.  The issue is not going away.  The recent spat of Constitution tampering by former presidents Wade and Compaore of Senegal and Burkina Faso and president Nkuruziza of Burundi among other African leaders.

In the case of former president Wade,  members of civic society coalesced with the opposition to block the change to the electoral laws that would have guaranteed his reelection to a third term.  It ended up in the defeat of the incumbent.  Blaise Compaore was not to lucky.  He was not only prevented from changing the rules of the game but was chased from office after several days of violent protests.

These attempts to change the rules midstream has cause great pain to the citizenry and lasting disruption to African economies.  These types of self-perpetuating shenanigans employed by African leaders are fast becoming targets of reformers and activists for reform.  ECOWAS and similar regional bodies in Africa have started listening to ordinary citizens who are usually the victims of the deterioration of the governance environment.

ECOWAS may have temporarily shelved the proposal, but it is certain that it will be revisited because term limits for African presidents has become a permanent fixture in the African diplomatic calender.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gambia and Togo oppose presidential term limit at ECOWAS Summit

Togo's Faure Gnassingbe

GAMBIA's Jammeh 
The proposal to introduce term limits for presidents in the West Africa region fail to gather the necessary unanimous support from the 16 Member regional body of ECOWAS.

Gambia's Yaya Jammeh and Togo's Faure Gnassingbe were the only two presidents of the 16-member of ECOWAS who opposed the proposal.  Yaya Jammeh seized power illegally in 1994.  He transformed himself into a civilian president in 1996 and is currently serving his fourth 5-year term, in addition to the first two year in which he was head of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council.  Twenty two years in the presidency, he's one of Africa's longest-serving leader.

By comparison, Faure Gnessingbe was reelected to his third 5-year term last April amid protest from the opposition.  He succeeds his father Gnassingbe Eyadema who died in office, extending the family dynasty to nearly a half-century.

The number of those supporting the proposal came as a surprise to many who thought that the west African region was, at one stage in its history, littered with dictators most of whose rule ended violently.

The proposal was tabled before the ECOWAS Summit held in Accra, Ghana chaired by John Mahama, president of Ghana and Chairman of the regional group.  Yaya Jammeh did not attend for reasons only known to him.  He was instead represented by his Vice President, Isatou Njie-Saidy and Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall-Gaye.

Speaking to Reuters after the session,  Ghana's Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, said that "this dissenting view (from Gambia and Togo) became the majority view at the end of the day."

Although the proposal failed to attract unanimous consent, it did show that 14 out of 16 of the Member States strongly support the proposal.  Benin's Yayi Boni, who briefly toyed with the idea of running for a third term quickly dropped the idea and joined the majority of the ECOWAS Heads of State in support of a well overdue idea of getting rid of perpetual presidency.  A Movement will grow out of the idea of term limits for all African presidents.

In Jammeh's own words

After 21-years of death-defying gamble with the economic lives of about 2 millions with his persistent refusal to accept expert advise, the Gambian dictator has finally admitted failure.

Speaking to rural villagers at Jarra Soma during his current tour of the rural areas, Jammeh made what amounts to a startling admission that his regime has failed the Gambian people, and proceeded to promise, yet again, that "by 2020 we will beat the poverty rate and backwardness" which now stands at 60% of Gambians and who live of $1.25 a day.

The level of poverty is high, causing hunger acute hunger in the central part of the country that children in the CRR are suffering from kwashiorkor which is a severe form of malnutrition.  The poverty figures provided by UNDP this past week are further confirmation of a condition that the regime of Yaya Jammeh has been denying at first, and concealing later, when the numbers have been staring us in the face for several years - at least since the 2011 late rains that affected agricultural production, and from which we have not recovered from since.

During the course of the tour, Gambians were told by Jammeh that he loves them and was always looking for ways to get them out of poverty, an admission that his policies have failed.  In fact, it could be argued that it is because of his ill-conceived and poorly implemented policies with frequent meddling by Jammeh that the incidence of poverty has been on the rise for the past 20 years.

He advised parents in the Fonis that "they should value the lives of their children and to stop encouraging them to participate in irregular migration", which begs the question as what are the causes of the "Back Way", when unemployment among the young is at its highest ever recorded.

The fact that the University of The Gambia is producing graduates at a rate faster than the economy can create jobs is pushing the unemployment rate to unacceptably high levels.  In fact, the economy is losing business establishment to neighboring Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Mali due to lack of competitiveness and downright hostility to the business sector thus making matters worse.

He further complained that he's been asking Gambians to work hard but very few have answered his call, and thus the present predicament of the misery that has befallen the majority of the citizenry. Even in admitting failure, Jammeh sees nothing wrong in apportioning blame to Gambians for their misery because they did not work hard enough as he'd counselled.  To Jammeh, it is everyone else's fault by Jammeh's even as president of the Gambia.

At least one thing we have learned from him during the tour is that Vision 2016 is not about rice self-sufficiency, "as thought by many", according to Jammeh "but for item.  This new definition of Vision 2016 is not what Jammeh first said in Nuimi two years ago when he first introduced Vision 2016.  At the time, it was rice self-sufficiency which led him to declare a ban on rice importation by December 2014 which was later moved to 2016.

You see, agriculture is not a difficult venture, according to Jammeh.  It is all in the head. "It is only the psychology of the people that can make it work or not work", according to Prof. Jammeh.  He ended his lecture by thanking "Allah for Gambian women because if it weren't for them, Gambia would have gone starving."

The entire tour would have been chalked off as one of those unfortunate events if it was not going to cost millions of dollars of taxpayers money to finance 16-day of pure idleness when he could have used this valuable time tending to the serious problems facing the country and save us the headache in the process.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Are U.S. sanctions against Jammeh imminent?

Dr. Susan Rice, National Security Adviser
The Obama administration, through Dr. Susan Rice the National Security Advise, reacted swiftly to the latest threats to the LGBT community issued by Yaya Jammeh, the Gambian dictator, by issuing a condemnation of Jammeh's threat to slit the throats of gay men in The Gambia.

"We condemn his comments, and note these threats come at an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia" Rice said in a statement.

The anti-gay rhetoric of Yaya Jammeh has been gathering steam as the economy started to slid downhill in 2011.  As a means of diverting attention away from real economic hardships facing Gambians, Jammeh's anti-gay rhetoric became harsher that resulted in actual arrests and torture of some young Gambians accused of being gay.   The threats culminated into the passage of anti-gay law known as the "aggravated homosexuality", signed into law by Jammeh, punishable by life imprisonment.

Jammeh heightened his harassment of gays and lesbians despite warnings from the United States, the European Union and LGBT advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe, leading to further arrests and torture of gays and lesbians. These persistent threats have led members of the LGBT community to seek refuge in neighboring Senegal where they are languishing in shelters and depending on outside assistance for their livelihood.

In recognition of the plight of the LGBT community in The Gambia that is under constant attack from Yaya Jammeh, the U.S. government is left with little option but to review its policy towards the Jammeh regime.

While Human Rights Campaign's Fred Sainz described the Susan Rice statement as "forceful", Robert F. Kennedy Center's Jeff Smith acknowledged that "while strong denunciation from the White House, while certainly welcome, are not enough."  Jeff Smith further advocated for "visa bans and travel restrictions of The Gambia political leadership."

The scope and extent of the sanctions must be extended to include Yaya Jammeh, his wife, the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Minister,  Information, Communication, Infrastructure and Presidential Affairs.  The ban should also be extended to the Chief of the Armed Forces, and Service Chief.  The travel and visa ban must be extended to include all members of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).  In addition to the travel bans and visa restrictions, US support to the Gambian military should also be reviewed.          


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Susan Rice condemns Gambia president’s anti-gay comments

National Security Advisor, Dr. Susan Rice condemns Janneh' (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

This is verbatim reproduction of The Washington Blade's article by Chris Johnson

Following calls from LGBT advocates urging her to speak out, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice condemned on Saturday the president of Gambia’s pledge to slit the throats of gay men in his country as “unconscionable.”

“We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia,” Rice said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.”

Rice made the remarks in a statement one day before the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, saying the remarks from Gambia President Yahya Jammeh underscore the need for continued efforts “to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love.”

Jammeh, who’s been in power since 1994 and survived a coup attempt on December 30, issued a warning to gay men in the Wolof language during a recent rally in which he also threatened the political opposition, according to a translation of his remarks obtained by the international news agency Vice News“If you do it [in Gambia] I will slit your throat,” Jammeh reportedly said. “If you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”

The remarks are the latest action from the Gambia leader enabling anti-gay violence in the country. In October, Jemmeh signed into a law making “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life in prison. As defined under the law, “aggravated homosexuality” includes “serial offenders” of homosexuality as well as engaging in homosexual conduct with a minor or while having HIV.

The national security adviser issues the statement one day after Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz had no comment during a news briefing on the Gambia president’s remarks on the basis that he didn’t want to “directly respond from here without having read them.”

Earlier this week, the Human Rights Campaign and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights wrote an open letter to Rice calling for a White House statement condemning the remarks, which the groups said would “help advance human rights in the country by exposing these ongoing injustices to the world and by standing on the side of ordinary Gambians who continue to advocate for accountability and justice in the country.”

Fred Sainz, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, said his organization is happy with the statement issued on Saturday. “We’re very gratified that she spoke out so forcefully against conduct that by any measure is completely unacceptable,” Sainz said.

Jeffrey Smith, an Africa specialist at the Robert Kennedy Center, also expressed gratitude over the condemnation of Gambia’s leader. “Ambassador Rice’s timely statement strikes a nice balance by both condemning President Jammeh’s most recent and repugnant comments while also rightly linking them to the wider human rights crisis that has afflicted The Gambia under Jammeh’s two-decade reign,” Smith said.

But Smith said more action is needed from the Obama administration beyond strongly worded statements from the White House.  “It is also important to note, however, that strong denunciations from the White House, while certainly welcome, are not enough,” Smith said. “There must be consequences, and I hope this latest incident proves to the U.S. government that the time has come to issue visa bans and travel restrictions on The Gambia’s political leadership.”

The joint letter the groups wrote to Rice also calls for consideration of visa bans for Gambia leaders engaged in anti-LGBT conduct as well as review of military and security assistance with the country. A visa ban would have particular impact on Jemmeh because, as the Blade reported in March, Jemmeh owns a $3.5 million mansion in Maryland less than 20 miles from the White House.

In her statement, Rice says the Obama administration is “reviewing what additional actions are appropriate” to respond to the anti-LGBT atmosphere and human rights violations in the country. An administration official, who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity, said visa bans and changes to security and military assistance are among the things under review.

As Rice notes in her statement, the Obama administration has already taken action against Gambia for anti-gay activity. In December, the United States announced Gambia would be no longer eligible to take part in a duty-free trade program under the African Growth & Opportunity Act due to human rights concerns.

“We repeat our call for the Gambian government, and all governments, to lead inclusively, repudiate intolerance, and promote respect for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of all people,” Rice concludes in statement.

Dr. Susan Rice's FULL STATEMENT 

Tomorrow, the international community will mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This day and every day, the United States stands in solidarity with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and all those around the world who work to advance the unassailable principle that LGBT rights are human rights.

The recent unconscionable comments by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh underscore why we must continue to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love. 

We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia. We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.
The United States in late 2014 acted on The Gambia’s crackdown against its LGBT community and wider human rights violations by ending trade preferences, and we are reviewing what additional actions are appropriate to respond to this worsening situation.

We repeat our call for the Gambian government, and all governments, to lead inclusively, repudiate intolerance, and promote respect for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of all people.

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