|Namibian president Hage Geingob|
The Insight.com website, a leading Namibian news outlet, wrote a blistering editorial asking Hage Geingob, the president of Namibia why he accepted a leadership prize "along side one of the continent's old-style dictators?
Namibians, according to the paper, were puzzled because president Geingob has been touting proudly the "New Africa" a continent that has turned away from authoritarian rule and has instead embraced electoral democracy only to be on the same platform with representatives of one of Africa's last old-fashioned and out-modes dictators like His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhagie Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, Balilimansa Nasurudeen.
The Namibian paper cited the fact that upon return to Banjul, the Daily Observer carried a report that Gambian vice president Njie-Saidy made a big deal of the fact that apart from, Jammeh, the Namibian president and other African-Americans "were equally honored." The Namibian president did the honors of delivering the keynote speech.
The Insight news site drew the reader's attention to a detail that can only be described as a convenient omission on the part of African Leadership magazine website that, in reporting on the Namibian president's award, it failed to mention the fact that Jammeh also received an award for Leadership in Tourism. While touting the Namibian president, African Leadership magazine downplayed, if not an attempt to conceal the fact that an old-fashioned African dictator was also up for an award.
There is a message in all this for the Namibians, The Gambians and the proprietors of the African Leadership magazine. For the Namibians, the Insight paper was right in blaming the advisers of president Geingob for their failure in advising him properly regarding the appropriateness of accepting the award, the organization that is awarding the prize and who else will be sharing the podium with him.
The same message applies to The Gambians but knowing the kind of person Jammeh is, he will be the one initiating the contact with the magazine, it will thus be pointless to advise Banjul about the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of accepting such awards. Jammeh already has a collection of these useless awards anyway.
For the African Leadership magazine, the message is that Africa and Africans are ready to rid themselves of dictators, period. It is no longer business as usual. Africa moving away from dictatorships to multi-party democratic dispensation, and Nigeria is a very good example of that transition. We'd like news magazines like African Leadership to join us in join us in that effort by stop awarding "Leadership Awards" to certified depots like Yaya Jammeh.