Tuesday, May 19, 2015
In Jammeh's own words
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 any...food 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.