Monday, November 23, 2015

Jammeh's lies have become intolerable

Jammeh going to or from the polls
When Jammeh seized power in 1994, he vowed never to introduce military dictatorship. When he was called a dictator, initially he objected but later admitted to being one but not of the traditional kind.  He prefers to be referred to as "dictator of development", whatever that means.

However, prior to making the no-dictatorship promise, he had promised Gambians that no president will ever govern more than ten years. It was the thirty-year stint of Sir Dawda K. Jawara as president that provided the justification for the 1994 coup d'etat.

However, after the constitutional consultation exercise was complete, it was evident that Gambians overwhelmingly endorsed the idea of term limit - in this case a president cannot serve more than two 5-year terms which was part of the Consultative Committee's recommendation to the junta - a clause that mysteriously disappeared from the final version that was put before the Gambian people.

Then came Vision 2020 which promised to transform The Gambia into a Middle Income Country (MIC) from its Least Developed (LDC) status. Some of the sub-components of Vision 2020, such as electrification of the entire rural communities, transforming The Gambia into a City-State (a la Singapore) were among other numerous lofty goals that proved outlandishly unattainable.

Since then, variations to Vision 2020 have been cooked up  and served to an unsuspecting citizenry who have been bamboozled by a shameless dictator - all for his political gain.  The latest variation of Vision 2020 is Vision 2016, inaugurated in June of 2013.  It promised Gambians of rice self-sufficiency by 31st December 2015 or a little over a month from now when total ban on rice importation was to have taken place.

Faced with a fast approaching D-Day, Jammeh's Trade Minister took what amounts to a preemptive measure by letting a local newspaper report know that the "deadline has been postponed" (to use the Minster's language) to September 2016.  What the Minister fail to tell the reporter is the country's food deficit problems have been mounting since 2011, which includes a corresponding increase in the rice importation bill.  Gambian's are less food secure today than they were in 1994.

Meanwhile, Jammeh was busy conducting a provincial tour and at no time was Vision 2016 a topic of conversation as in the recent past or the reason for its "postponement".  Instead, Jammeh was busy engaging farmers on such development-oriented and challenging topics as voodoo, witchcraft and tribalism with a dash of the variation of Vision 2020 -  transforming Gambia into a City-State by 2025.  And as one prominent opponent of the Jammeh regime puts it on his Facebook page "Dictator and Liar-in-Chief Yahya Jammeh is shamelessly shifting the goalpost again."