Friday, May 8, 2015

IMF petitioned to stop support to the Gambian dictatorship

The Executive Board
International Monetary Fund
Washington, DC
May 7, 2015

The executive board’s April 2nd 2015 decision to grant the government of the Gambia, emergency financial assistance under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in the amount equivalent to SDR7.775 million (about US$10.8 million) to enable the authorities to meet their urgent balance of payment and fiscal needs, however well-intentioned can only strengthen the brutal dictatorship of President Yahya Jammeh.

Since seizing power in a military coup in 1994, President Yahya Jammeh has systematically dismantled and appropriated once profitable national institutions, like the Gambia Livestock Marketing Board, Gambia Produce Marketing Board, Abuko Abattoir (the only modern slaughterhouse in the Gambia), Gambia Telecommunications Company (GAMTEL), the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) and the Gambia Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC).

Over the years, President Jammeh used the Office of the President to blur the boundary between public property and his private property. Several projects that started as public projects soon morphed into his personal property. The Brufut Gardens, a housing estate built for the 2006 African Union Summit is now managed as President Jammeh’s personal property.  On April 8, 2015 the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), “donated bags of coos and tons of certified seeds and seed samples to the President of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh”.  The Kanilai Group International(KGI), President Jammeh’s private business outfit and partners,  control foreign currency exchange trade, the importation and sale of all petroleum fuel products,  cement, construction supplies, cooking oil, rice, flour, school uniforms, farm equipment, without paying taxes, thus under-cutting and out-competing private citizens.  In addition, President Jammeh use public servants (civil and military) to work at his many private businesses and farms with blatant disregard for Gambian laws and regulations.

President Jammeh is often seen using public funds on incessant ceremonies, musical jamborees, expensive overseas travels, personal foreign mansions and lavish gifts. Less than 10 days after the Executive Board approved the emergency financial assistance, President Jammeh invited Senegalese wrestling champion Eumeu Sene and comedian and Yahya-impersonator Kouthia for a private audience during which Yahya presented Eumeu two vehicles as gift- (see embedded video at the top of this blog post)  

We the undersigned believe that after 20 years of President Yahya Jammeh, Gambians have come to the conclusion that no emergency bailout or staff monitored program will constrain Yahya’s spending habits or the misuse of public funds.  We believe that President Jammeh will neither stop the urge to own every business in the Gambia or curb his wasteful spending of public funds. We believe that any financial assistance, no matter what strings attached, will end in his personal kitty. We therefore call on the IMF not to engage in strengthening the hands of a brutal and reckless dictator under the disguise of assisting the Gambian people.

 Concerned Gambians

Editor's Note :  We encourage all concerned Gambians and non-Gambians alike to go to and sign the petition.   We fully recognized the limits of this and similar petitions to organizations like the IMF but that will not deter us from saying to the Fund and other development institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank that Third World poverty will not be reduced in any significant measure if bad governance practices are encouraged through questionable loans.

No sooner that the promise made by the Governor of the Central Bank and Finance Minister, on behalf of the Government of The Gambia, outlined in their Letter of Intent "not to introduce measures to compound the current balance of payments difficulties, including but not limited to an introduction or intensification of exchange and trade restrictions," than the Gambian president issued an Executive Order setting new foreign exchange rates - a unilateral action that also contravenes Gambian law.  Why this government is taken seriously by the IMF and other development agencies is beyond us here at