Saturday, January 30, 2016

Why is Jammeh siding with Burundi's Nkurunziza

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the AU Summit 
Self preservation is the only reasonable explanation why Yaya Jammeh,, the Gambian dictator, is siding with President Nkurunziza and against the AU and the United Nations in sending peacekeeping troops to stem the escalation of violence in Burundi where over 400 people have already been killed, senselessly.

Yaya Jammeh spent an entire year cooped up in his State House den, with intermittent visits to his home village after an attempt was made by dissidents to unseat him a little over a year ago.

The constant threat posed by opponents to his brutal, corrupt and incompetent regime. both from dissidents living abroad and from his own divided army, has rendered his regime ineffectual.
Gambia's economy is on a steady decline for over a decade with no sign of improving in the short- to medium-term because of fiscal and monetary indiscipline that has become the hallmark of his 21-year dictatorial rule.

The Gambia's economic troubles have been exacerbated by sanctions imposed by the country's traditional donors, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank, both of whom have not provided the regime with any budget support in 2014.

The European Union's Development Fund has held in escrow approximately US$ 36 million in development aid because of Jammeh's deplorable human rights record.

The Gambia is not suffering from economic isolation but it has been isolated diplomatically, both internationally and regionally as well.  It's relations with Senegal is at its lowest ebb since independence from Britain in 1965.  It is because of his lack of access to development aid from Gambia's traditional partners and increasing isolation from his regional partners in ECOWAS, that forced the idiosyncratic dictator to mount a diplomatic charm offensive, a couple of years ago, towards the Gulf States.

Abruptly change the country's name without notice or public debate to the Islamic Republic of The Gambia is seen as part of the hope of attracting new friends in the Arab and Islamic world.

Jammeh would rather have Gambians talk about anything but internal problems resulting from misrule under Jammeh.  Playing mischievous role he's been known for did not come as a surprise to many Gambians.  But in the words of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "Leaders who stand by while civilians are slaughtered in their name must be held responsible," insisting that the Burundi crisis require the "serious and urgent commitment."

Hopefully, Africa - minus Yaya Jammeh and Nkurunziza - and the rest of the world will prevail over belligerent act of defiance to avert another genocide in a continent that is yearning for democracy, the rule of law, economic growth and development for its people.  Africans have become increasingly impatient with tin pot dictators and despot who will do anything to stay in power. Enough is enough.