Monday, February 29, 2016

Yaya Jammeh must stop the killing

Yaya Jammeh 
It is being reported that the 25-year old radio journalist, Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, who has been in custody for over 8 months without bail, has been rushed to the hospital from the notorious Mile II prisons.  He's gravely ill.

His illness and hospital admission has been confirmed by the prosecution during a court hearing today, even though his medical status was not divulged.

The journalist who has been falsely accused of distributing photos of the Gambian dictator with a gun pointed at him has been subjected to torture over a sustained period of his being held in custody and persistently being refused bail for a bailable offence.
He's suffering from an enlarged liver as a result of the torture he's been undergoing at the hands of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) agents.  

Despite being gravely ill which has been brought to the attention of the regime's Director of Public Prosecution, S. K. Barkum and Judge Simeon Abi, the radio journalist has been refused bail and continues to be held in one of the world's worst prisons.  He continues to be mistreated and being denied medical treatment.

Yaya Jammeh must stop killing his real and perceived political opponents as a means of holding on to power.  Gambians are yearning to be free from despotism and tyrannical rule from a regime that continues to display intolerance and brutality against a defenseless population.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

ITF challenges Yaya Jammeh over the death in custody of trade union leader

Sheriff Diba
The International Transport Workers' Federation (IFT) is challenging the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh, over the death of Sheriff Diba, a Gambian trade unionist who died while in custody at Mile II prisons - one of the worst prisons in the world.  

In addition to demanding answers to circumstances surrounding the death of the union leader, the IFT is making specific demands on the regime which include (i) the immediate lifting of the ban on the Gambian National Transport Control (GNTC) which Jammeh imposed (ii) the dropping of all legal charges against leaders and members of the GNTC and (iii) a National Commission of Inquiry that includes members of GNTC be established to determine the exact circumstances that led to the death of Sheriff Diba.  

The circumstances over his death and the cause of death have not been disclosed by the authorities.  In fact, when he died last week, it was reported that prison officers tried concealing the fact that he died in prison by moving his body to a health center in the outskirts of the capital of Banjul.

The regime of Yaya Jammeh continues the cover up by promising the family of Mr. Diba that an autopsy will be conducted, a promise that was never fulfilled.  His body was released by authorities to Mr. Diba's family several days after his death,contrary to Islamic teachings and with the proviso that the body be buried immediately.

The banning of the GNTC and the subsequent arrest and charging of the entire executive of the last functioning trade union in the Gambia was triggered when the union asked Jammeh to lower the retail price of fuel to reflect the dramatic reduction of fuel price.

Unlike neighboring Senegal and other countries around the world, Gambia did not pass on petrol prices even when the world market price has been tumbling for the past couple of years.  Despite numerous calls to the dictatorship by this blog on behalf of consumers - who are afraid of the repercussions - Jammeh, who has the monopoly of importation of petroleum products and a significant control over the retaining of petrol and petroleum products, refused to pass on any savings directly to the consumers.

It was until recently that through a budget gimmick that his Finance Minister decided that proceeds from a D1 reduction per gallon of petrol  instead of going into the pockets of the consumer would go to fund a "Road Maintenance Fund".  Drivers have since been asking what happens to the road tax they pay annually meant for road maintenance.  Gambia has been withdrawing the petroleum subsidy at the insistence of the International Monetary Fund, thus increasing the pump price until this year.

Price gauging has been perfected into an art by the Gambian dictator and a few of his business partners who've cornered the petroleum market.  It, therefore, becomes highly risky for consumers to be seen to be interfering with the income stream of a select few.  Unfortunately, in making a legitimate demand as a citizen and union leader, Sheriff Diba, paid the ultimate price.

The 1,000% unilateral tariff increase for the use of the TransGambia highway will further complicate a resolution of the problem and the fulfillment of the demands of ITF because, as Alassane Ndoye, the former Executive Secretary of the Senegal Transport Union and a Member of Parliament said in a recent radio interview that Sheriff Diba and colleagues on the executive of the GNTC had been extremely instrumental in negotiations in previous border closures.  Now that the union is banned and members facing dubious charges, the border closure is expected to drag in for a a very long time.      

Yaya Jammeh and Halifa Sallah selected respectively as APRC and PDOIS presidential candidates

PDOIS's Sallah, Presidential candidate
APRC presidential candidate Jammeh
Political parties in America aren't the ones busy going through the motions of primary elections to select their candidates to be nominated to represent their respective parties in the November presidential elections.

Gambia is also preparing to go to elections in December. The ruling APRC party led by dictator Yaya Jammeh who's ruled Gambia for 22 years was selected again as its flag bearer while PDOIS selected Halifa Sallah its Secretary General who's been at the top of his party's echelon since 1986 when he co-founded it.

PDOIS conducted its primaries with Halifa Sallah as the sole candidate, although party rules, according to it's own press release, allow for two or more candidates to take part in primary elections. Since there was no challenger to Halifa Sallah, it appeared that he was selected by acclamation to be his party's presidential candidate in the 2016 December elections.

The ruling APRC convened a 5-day party congress to reconfirm Yaya Jammeh as presidential candidate who will be attempting to run for the fifth time as president.  Prior to the party congress which is taking place in Jammeh's village of Kanilai, an army of party militants was dispatched to collect signatures of party supporters.

The militants led by Balla Jahumpa, a minister in Jammeh's cabinet who doubles as party Secretary General, fanned the country and in a matter of one week, managed to secure over a quarter of  a million signatures, representing over a third of all the votes cast in the 2011 presidential elections.  a presidential candidate who has already been a dictator of The Gambia for 22 years.

In the case of the signatures gathered in Upper River, Balla Jahumpa and his troops collected 60,000 signatures in one week which exceeds the 59,816 votes that Jammeh received in Upper River in the 2011 presidential elections.  Some food for thought for the opposition parties.  The rigging of the 2016 elections have already started almost a year before the first marble drops.  As we enter the election season, we will be paying close attention to the activities of the APRC stalwarts and operatives.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Who owns the mines and who keeps the proceeds?

Mining as Kartong 
There are two types of mining operations going on in the Kombos and perhaps in other parts of the Upper River Division of the country - sand and mineral mining - both types of mining activities occurring in the Kombos.  Mineral mining is reportedly taking place in the Basse area but we are yet to confirm it.

What is known is that both the sand and mineral mining taking place in Kartong and other areas of the Kombos is having a devastating environmental effect on the communities which, in turn, is impacting, negatively, on the living standards on residents who are already on the fringes of the poverty line.

As a consequent of the devastation, which you can read here, environmental activists in Kartong through the Environmental Concern Group of Kartong drew attention to the plight of the community by launching an appeal to the authorities to take remedial measures to mitigate the problem - a story you can find here. 

In response, the regime, through the Geology Unit, which has always been part of the Physical Planning Department of the Ministry for Local Governments and Lands but now part of the Office of the President, has denied reports that the mining activities are affecting the village's vegetable gardening activities.

Both local newspapers and this blog have reported on the issue.  We have paid particular attention to the environmental damage done and to the economic and financial cost to the area and residents.

This led us to continue to press the regime of Yaya Jammeh to be transparent in its handling of these mining activities, shrouded in secrecy since the advent of the messy case involving Carnegie Mineral (Gambia) Ltd which ultimately led to legal litigation that will potentially end up costing the Gambian taxpayer over $ 22 million.  You can read that here.

Given the potentially huge cost to the public treasury that Jammeh's mishandling of the mining sector, it is important for the government to provide the Gambian people with a true account of who owns what and how are the proceeds handled.  The same applies to the petroleum sector which is equally shrouded in secrecy and where public disclosure is needed as well.  

A member of the opposition National Reconstruction Party did ask the Finance Minster during the last Budget Session about the treatment of the mining revenue generated because it was not shown in the budget.  Initially, the Minister conveniently evaded the question.  We did blog on that issue too, here.  However, he volunteered a response after the session that the mining revenue go to the Geology Unit, to Local or Area Councils and to the National Environment Agency and not to the Consolidated Fund as should be expected.

Who owns the mines and who keeps the proceeds are two important questions that must be responded to, in the interest of transparency, especially for a regime that seized power promising Gambians transparency, accountability and probity.  If the Minister of Finance's response is correct - we question the truthfulness of his responses - the revenue sharing method and formula he described are marked and substantial departure from conventional budgeting practices.

We continue to insist that proceeds from mining activities must be properly accounted for and lodged in the proper public accounts - if these mines are publicly owned - and if not, full disclosure of private ownership must be made by Yaya Jammeh which must include details of all contracts. The people are entitled to know what their government is doing in their name.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gambia Bar Association must support the expulsion of Director of Public Prosecution, mercenary judges

History will not be kind to the Gambia Bar Association (GBA) because of its shameful behavior during the 21-year dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh.

The GBA's silence and condescending behavior towards the Jammeh regime has contributed to the current predicament that the country is in where human rights of Gambians are denied, abused and trampled upon by the judiciary.

Some members of the Gambia Bar Association have steadfastly refused to represent cases considered to be political in nature for fear of confronting Yaya Jammeh and his repressive and corrupt regime.

In many countries, it is the lawyers who led the charge against dictatorships that prey on ordinary citizens by defending the rights of the oppressed and those whose basic rights are being systematically abused.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Gambia with the exception of a few exemplary and conscientious legal minds who have consistent and persistently defended the rights of Gambians, even at great risk to their personal safety especially in cases considered to be political and controversial in nature.

The Gambia Bar Association watched for 21 years while the Gambian dictator filled the Bench with mercenary judges from Nigeria and Cameroon, unleashed against ordinary Gambians who are regularly imprisoned in disproportionate numbers to the small Gambian population.  The GBA continues to watch while the judiciary is transformed into a formidable weapon of suppression by an increasingly unpopular and hated regime.

The Gambia Bar Association must stand up now with the Gambian people and demand the expulsion of all Nigerian mercenary judges, including the Director of Public Prosecution, S. K. Barkum, from The Gambia.  Gambians must not sit and watch from the sidelines while ordinary Gambians are victimized on a regular basis by foreign mercenary judges.  Stand up and be counted while there is still time to correct the wrongs you've committed.  Don't be an accessory to a vile, corrupt and incompetent regime.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Yaya Jammeh will not be dislodged through elections

Sidi Sanneh 
Yuweri Museveni of Uganda has just been declared winner in an election that can only be described as a sham affair where the principal opposition candidate was put under house arrest throughout the voting.

The conduct of the elections prompted immediate statements of concern from the United States and the European Union, each expressing "concern" over the manner in which they were organized and effected.

According to the United States's Department of State statement issued today,  the elections were marred by "[D]elay in the delivery of voting materials, reports of pre-checked ballots and vote buying, ongoing blockage of social media sites, and excessive use of force by the police, collectively undermining the integrity of the electoral process." The American statement said the Ugandan people deserve better and continued to urge the release of the opposition leader from house arrest.

Signing a petition to President Obama today, we issued a statement stating that Africans have grown tired of despotic leaders who perpetuate themselves into a permanent state of repressive governance by manipulating the constitutional instruments and the security forces in their favor and against the interest of the general welfare.  We then warned that presidential elections will be held in several African countries this year - highlighting the upcoming presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and The Gambia - and warning that similar tactics employed by Museveni will be adopted by Kabila and Jammeh.

As a general rule, dictators are never dislodged through the ballot because elections are never fair.  In many instances, the playing field has been rendered uneven well before election day.  In the case of the Gambia, Yaya Jammeh has already rigged it in his favor.  As recently s last week, he has deployed the Secretary General of his political party to fan the country to distribute nomination forms collecting voters card - read vote buying - and promising bags of rice to prospective voters.

New voters are being registered willy-nilly, including under-aged school children by members of the security forces who have traditionally been an integral part of and active participants in the electoral process since Jammeh seized power in 1994.  These are the same tactics being employed by despotic African leaders across the continent.   It is tme to put a stop to it, at least, in the case of The Gambia.

It must be noted at this point that Dr. Marloes Janson, a Reader in Anthropology and Sociology at the School of African and Oriental Studies, has published a paper on Africa Research Institute concluding that Jammeh may win another victory in the elections scheduled for December 2016.  It is a point worth recording.

Friday, February 19, 2016

APRC claims are false, they've already started the nomination process

APRC Presidential nomination form 
APRC stalwarts are denying reports that their party has started the presidential nomination process ten months before the scheduled December 2016 presidential elections in apparent contravention of the law. .

Yankuba Colley, the KMC Mayor, is quoted as saying that "the APRC are not politicising, but only meeting people to help them get their voter's card."

Our sources in the CRR and URD have provided us with the actual APRC presidential nomination forms (shown here) that are being distributed across the country with a target of 50,000 signatures, according to Balla Jahumpa, a Minister in Jammeh's regime and Secretary of the A(F)PRC party that is currently campaigning across the country.

Collecting signatures for the nomination of a presidential candidate at this time is illegal and contravenes the electoral laws.

We also reported that forms with the IEC logo is also in circulation but we have so far unable to lay our hands on these forms.  We will provide them as soon as we have samples of them.  Until then what is evident is that Jammeh and his henchmen have already started to skew the electoral landscape om their favor.

It is  now up to the opposition parties to take concrete measures aimed at preempting further infringement of the electoral laws by a group of A(F)PRC rouge elements determined to rig the elections before the scheduled dates of the presidentials and parliamentaries. .    

More Nigerian mercenary judges and magistrates?

New batch of Nigerian "Judges and "Magistrates"

Gambia's military dictatorship has been prolonged, in part, by the deliberate policy of the Jammeh regime of hiring Nigerian "judges" and "magistrates", some, literally off the streets of Banjul to dispense justice the Jammeh way.

S.K. Barkum, Jammeh's Director of Public Prosecution, being the prolific recruiter he has become, appears to have succeeded, yet again, in recruiting a batch of his countrymen and women to fill the vacancies on the Gambian bench.  Past experience suggests that, unless the new crop of Nigerians shown here are of high moral and incorruptible character and are on the side of justice, Gambians are in for a very rough ride.

Thus, both real and perceived opponents of the repressive, corrupt and very incompetent regime of Yaya Jammeh must brace themselves to more trumped-up charges emanating from the Director of Public Prosecution, S. K. Barkum, and continued judicial interference from Yaya Jammeh through his Justice Minister, Mama Fatima Singhateh.

We will also warn all and sundry that this blog, social media and other resources at the disposal of the opponents of this vile and repressive regime will be deployed to expose any judicial malpractice that may have been committed while on or off the bench.  We will be reporting to both the Federal authorities in Abuja and to your respective home state newspaper and professional associations.

Unfortunately, due to our country's experiences with Nigerian judges and magistrates since 1994, we cannot welcome you to our country.  The damage done to our people by Justices Wowo and Amadi - to name but a few Nigerians - and Justice Emmanuel Nkea of Cameroon, is too fresh in our collective memories to do otherwise.  We shall be watching and reporting about your activities.  

Enough is enough of this man

This is Yaya Jammeh in 1994
Yaya Jammeh has been at the helm of Gambian affairs for almost twenty-two years of economic uncertainty coupled with diplomatic isolation because of the type of political leadership imposed on The Gambia by a group of military police officers with guns.

As we observe The Gambia's 51 years of Indepenedence, we must reflect and take stock of what the last two decades of A(F)PRC dictatorship have brought us as a country.

In simple economic terms, when Jammeh illegally seized power in 1994 from a legitimately elected government, The Gambia had the third highest per capita income ratio among the 16-Member ECOWAS regional body.  We were ranked 3rd behind Cote d'Ivoire and Cabo Verde.

Today, The Gambia is ranked 16th,  We are at the bottom of the heap.  Even Guinea-Bissau is doing better than us and yet Jammeh sees nothing wrong with him providing development assistance in the form of 12 vehicles to Bissau, not to mention the US$ 500,000 each he gave to Guinea and Sierra Leone during the recent Ebola epidemic.  It turns out that even though the virus did not cross into Gambian territory, its impact devastated out tourism by reducing hotel occupancy rates by 60%, rendering  many Gambians unemployed.  It is Gambia that needs development assistance and not to act as donor to countries that are economically better off than we are.  It makes no sense whatsoever.

Jammeh and his advisers prefer employing cheap propaganda methods to gain international acceptability and respectability instead of adhering to and embracing the rules of international behavior that guarantee the basic freedoms of speech, association and religion.  Instead, Jammeh opts for the hard way of refusing to grant Gambians their basic inherent rights by continuing to use repression as a means of perpetuating himself and a handful of equally corrupts, incompetent and repressive sycophants and hangers-on who pose as businessmen and women.

Jammeh's continued refusal to mend his ways by refusing to adhere to basic norms of human decency has landed this once respected and proud country called The Gambia with a very well-managed economy into the unfamiliar territory and uncomfortable zone reserved for pariah states.  Today, The Gambia is neither respected nor taken seriously in both the economic and diplomatic sphere resulting in further isolation,  Consequently, Gambia's economy is left to sputter as we become further isolated from our neighbors and traditional development partners.

Gambia's role in ECOWAS has been reduced from being twice its Chairman under Sir Dawda Jawara to being an isolated by-stander who's been denied chairing the regional organization in 22 straight years because who Jammeh is - an unpredictable leader with a highly volatile personality.  Because of Jammeh, Gambia suffers immeasurably as a result.  - a set back that will take us a generation or more to recover from the national nightmare that is Jammeh.  

We know it will hard for some who have invested their reputation and pride in supporting Jammeh to withdraw support at this juncture.  But it is still not too late to withdraw support of a man who is clearly out of his depth.  Thus the longer he stays in power, the further damage he will inflict on Gambians - a people who have suffered enough already under his despotic rule.  It is thus time to say: 'Enough is enough of this man.'  #JammehMustGo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jammeh must stop destroying the environment and the livelihood of the people of Gunjur

We join the Environmental Concern Group of Gunjur and the citizens of Gunjur in demanding the cessation of the open pit mining practice that Yaya Jammeh and his business associates employ in the Kombos and probably other parts of the country.

The women of Gunjur are being deprived of their livelihood by the sand and mineral mining operations that belong to or controlled by Yaya Jammeh.

According to the Environmental Concern Group reported by the Point newspaper, "[T]he already excavated area drained the underground water from the gardens nearby" thus depriving the women of Gunjur of earning a living off their vegetable gardens. Yet it the same Yaya Jammeh who claims to be the friend and protector of the Gambian woman.

We have argued on several occasions in favor of conserving our local physical environment because of the inextricable link between it and economy and the general welfare of the rural population.

Degrading the environment in the manner and scale that we are witnessing in Gunjur and throughout the Kombos is threatening the economic, social and cultural livelihood of the people.  Horticultural activities of the people of Gunjur and the Kombos have been partially responsible to keeping many families from falling below the poverty line.

The upkeep of the family in these parts of the country depend on agriculture and particularly horticulture.  Therefore, mining activities that have threatened or are threatening the environment must cease immediately if the Jammeh regime is serious in and committed to poverty alleviation.

Jammeh must cease all mining activities until a thorough study is done as to determine (i)  the appropriateness of the mining techniques being currently employed  (ii) the economic cost of the operation to the communities affected and (iii) whether the communities ought to compensated if it is found that they have been adversely affected, financially.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Former Senegalese Minister of African Integration calls Jammeh a "bandit who terrorizes his people"

Jean Paul Dias Mendes 
Jean Paul Dias Mendes, commonly known simply as Jean-Paul DIAS, appearing on television in the Senegalese capital referred to Yaya Jammeh as a "bandit who terrorizes his people."

The former African Integration Minister in the PDS-led government of former President Abdoulaye Wade made the statement in response to questions about the escalating tensions between the regime of Yaya Jammeh and President Macky Sall prompted by the recent increase in road tax on Senegalese trucks using the TransGambia.

Yaya Jammeh has used this undesirable tactic many times before as a reminder to Senegal that he has some leverage that he can use to drive home a point - be it political, diplomatic or economic, the frequency of which it is used is becoming more as an irritant and an inconvenience to Gambia's neighbor.  It appears that Senegal's patience with Jammeh is beginning to run out based on the general reaction of the Senegalese people in general and current and previous government officials in particular.

Jean Paul Dias views Jammeh as someone who persistently taunts Senegal and shows contempt for Senegalese leadership which, according to the former minister, must come to a halt.  He is calling for a change in policy that calls for the building of a first class highway around the Gambia - a proposal that has been tried and found to be far less economically viable than the short cut through The Gambia. This proposal is being revisited more out of frustration than driven by economics - a frustration shared by many Senegalese and Gambians alike who value good neighborliness and regional cooperation that promotes regional economic growth and development.

As we have said in our previous blog post, this is the wrong time for Yaya Jammeh to pick a fight with Senegal, even if he's doing it to divert the attention of the Gambian people from his failed economic policies and deplorable human rights record.  

Sene-Gambia trade war or economic suicide

Sall and Jammeh in better times
"We will teach him a lesson" were the first words that greeted me when I reached out this morning to a source close to the Macky Sall government to inquire about reports that Gambian businessmen in Senegal. particularly Dakar, are being denied renewal or issuance of "passevent" that allows them to free movement.

It is obvious that without free movement of goods and persons, Gambian businessmen in Senegal will be severely constraint in operating their businesses.

This is just one example of Yaya Jammeh keeps shooting himself in the foot which would have been perfectly fine with most Gambians had it not been that in the process he's inflicting a severe blow to the rest of Gambian society.

For instance, presently the groundnut crop is being sold across the border in Senegal because of the regimes inability to buy it from the Gambian farmer at a competitive price.  Senegal's producer price for groundnut is significantly higher this year resulting in Gambia farmers crossing the border into Senegal to sell their crop.

The official buying agent of the regime, Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) has been a bankrupt agency since its inception.  It relies of government finance to operate and since the regime is experiencing budgetary constraints of its own, the GGC's ability to buy this year's crop is correspondingly limited.

The abrupt and apparent unilateral increase in the tariff levied per truck using the TransGambia road is being viewed by Senegal as a hostile act designed to deliberately harm Senegal's economy and undermine its security in the midst of a terror threat the Sall government is committed to fighting vigorously.  The terror threat is commonly seen as a shared responsibility between the countries, given the unique nature of their geography. But recent developments are causing Senegal to pause and rethink Jammeh's continued erratic and irresponsible behavior.  The ill-timed declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic State is one such behavior that has puzzled its neighbor.

The fact that Jammeh is faced with his toughest presidential elections in two decades only adds to the unpredictability of his future actions.  There are already signs of panic mood of which the increase in the toll for Senegalese commercial trucks which was effected with little or no notice (depending whom you talk to) is one such example.  It is also seen as a tactic employed by Jammeh to divert the attention of Gambians away from an economy that is deteriorating faster than the regime anticipated. So why would Jammeh continue to act irrationally and belligerently towards a neighbor that has a stronger economy.    

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Scientologically speaking

Scientology  Church in Los Angeles 

The purpose of this blog is not to cast aspersions on a religion that most people know every little about.  Our purpose is to raise concern about the regime of Yaya Jammeh's fray into the unknown, led by a band of inexperienced group of individuals who use Gambian Embassies abroad in the guise of courting foreign investors.

But before we do so, we'd like to say a word or two about the Church of Scientology that has recently co-sponsored a gathering in Washington DC in conjunction with Black History Month.  Gambian citizens resident in Washington who were RSVPed to attend but later dis-invited when it was discovered that they belonged to a group of activists opposed to the tyrannical regime of Yaya Jammeh, the dictator who'd recently changed the name of his country to the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.

Scientology was recently ruled a religion in U.K. courts but in some parts of Germany, Scientology is banned.  In the U.S., its status is unclear but it has gained a significant foothold among the Hollywood class with many big name stars like Tom Cruise, Issac Hayes and John Trivolta are claimed to be members of the Church of Scientology.

According to the Church's literature, "Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path to a complete and certain understanding of one's true spiritual nature..."  It also teaches that "man is an immortal spiritual being" whose "experience extends well beyond a single lifetime."

The Gambia's 21-year dictatorial rule under one of Africa's most brutal and corrupt has managed to sullied the image of a once respected democratic enclave in a sea of strong-man rule that prevailed in earlier years.  As a result of the horrendous human rights record of Yaya Jammeh, development assistance from the European Union has been frozen and funds held in escrow until certain demands are met - demands relating to the continued tortures, forced exiles, disappearances and false imprisonments of dissidents and opponents, real and perceived.

The regime is essentially financially insolvent and thus schemes are being concocted, on the fly, in desperate attempts at looking for "prospective investors" to invest in a country that is at the bottom of the table of The World Bank's "Doing Business" in Africa and around the world.  In a country where the investment climate is not bad but hostile to foreign investors.

As we speak, there are two arbitration cases pending before the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and one judgement against the regime involving a mining concession which they've asked the ICSID to review.  Some of these unsavory characters who pose as government investment promoters have gone to the extent of adopting fictitious royal titles (like Prince Ebrahim) using the Embassy of The Gambia in Washington as cover with the intention of targeting the unsuspecting and gullible investors in the United States.  Buyers beware.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

APRC National Assembly member confirms nomination forms already in circulation

Alh. Mustapha Carayol
An APRC member of the National Assembly has confirmed that Regional Governors who operate as party apparatchiks rather than as public employees who look after the public interest are busy distributing nomination forms for president.

According to our source, the forms bear the official insignia of the IEC, contrary to what a staff member if the Electoral Commission told someone who was trying to confirm the story.

As we have observed in our Facebook page today, Alhagie. Mustapha Carayol's finger is already on the scale in favor of Yaya Jammeh.

Governor Omar Khan of the CRR (perhaps his colleagues as well) has been reportedly handing nomination forms on behalf of the candidacy of Yaya Jammeh to area Chiefs and Alkalolus in Niamina Dankungku and Upper Saloum constituencies.

Are the actions of these Governors legal?  We believe in providing nomination forms to the ruling party and not to the opposition, the Chairman of the IEC who is occupying the chair illegally, continues to contravene the very law he's sworn to uphold at the detriment of the opposition parties.

By this action, Alhagie Mustapha Carayol is doing his best to further skew a playing field that is already uneven by ushering in the most undemocratic collection of arbitrarily designed amendments to the electoral laws that will effectively disqualify every opposition party.  As an election expert recently put it, the new laws are so arbitrary and stringent that he doubts even if the ruling APRC will be able to meet the requirements.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BREAKING: Governor Omar Khan of CRR already distributing nomination papers to chiefs to nominate Jammeh for 2016

Independent Elctoral Commission's Carayol
Moments after publishing our latest blog post urging opposition parties to stand up t Yaya Jammeh by refusing to go along with the draconian Elections (Amendment) Act of 2015, we receive information from a highly placed source that Mr. Omar Khan, Governor of Central River Region, is out distributing "nomination forms" to area chiefs to nominate Yaya Jammeh as candidate for president in the 2016 elections.

The sources told me moments ago and I quote "Sidi, I'm just coming from Niamina Dankunku, but I found something very strange, that the Governor of CR sent to his chiefs nomination paper for the people to nominate Yaya Jammeh."

He proceeded to immediately to reach the offices of the IEC and demanded to talk with the Chairman who was unavailable.  He was, however, able to talk with an unidentified staff of the IEC who assured our source that "they didn't distribute any nomination papers yet."

As soon as the source was off the phone to the IEC, he said " I started receiving so many calls from Upper Saloum constituency electorates seeking clarity".  From this, he concluded that "it seems then that the process is all over Gambia, Thanks"

Based on these developments and the fact that the Election (Amendment) Act of 2015 is designed to exclude many, if not all, of the opposition parties from participation in the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, it would be wise for every opposition party to individually and collectively reassess the current political and electoral climate in light of the new and credible information at hand.

It is time to stand up to Yaya Jammeh

Alhagie. Mustapha Carayol, Chairman IEC
The Chairman of the so-called Independent Electoral Commission who is occupying the seat illegally has issued a press release reminding political parties that the deadline for them to register under the draconian Electoral Reform Act of 2015 is fast approaching.

All political parties must comply by the March 31 2016 deadline or risk being banished into oblivion.

Among the new requirements are that all party executive members must be resident in the Gambia and every party must maintain a party secretariat in all of the five administrative areas of the country.

All political parties must also submit the audited accounts to show sources of their finances as well as how the funds are being spent.  Parties are also to pay a D 500,000 registration fee.  There are other additional requirements that include but not limited to requiring all parties to have 10,000 members with at least 1,000 members for each administrative area.

These new requirements are deliberate and targeted designed to eliminate existing opposition parties from participation in future elections and not to make the election terrain more hospitable to ensure free and fair elections.

Few, if any of the opposition parties, will be able to fulfill these stringent requirements.  The opposition parties must, therefore, resist the temptation of being sucked into a vacuum of believing that they can meet the requirements.

It is time to stand up to Jammeh and say no to these skewed requirements.  The new election laws are designed to disqualify all opposition and therefore should not be accepted.    

When it comes to economic management, we are our own worst enemy

While there will always be erratic weather patterns, locust invasions and rare and occasional epidemics like the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus all of which can and do affect the performances of the most vital sectors of our economy, we cannot and should not lay all the blame on these 'externalities' or external factors that the Central Bank Governor and the Minister of Finance are in the habit of doing.
It is time to level with the Gambian people and admit fault, take full responsibility for the economic mess you have created by refusing to stand up to the dictatorship.

Yes, there were and will always be external factors, outside of the control of local managers of the economy but Gambia's economic problems have been mostly of our own doing.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been warning of imprudent spending by this regime for over a decade, if not longer.

 For example, the domestic debt, which is within your control has been out of control for over a decade with no end in sight to keep it under control.  Jammeh and his projects are primarily responsible for this out-of-control spending.  Both the Governor and the Finance Minister have refused to state their concerns publicly.  Instead what we get from these two gentlemen are excuses by blaming the weather and Ebola and anything under the sun except themselves and Jammeh.

Central Bank Governor Amadou Colley was before the joint parliamentary Public Accounts Committees to report on the state of the economy where he blamed the erratic rainfall for the precipitous decline in agricultural production on the weather and an equally precipitous decline in tourism sector on the Ebola outbreak, even when the virus, thankfully, did not cross into The Gambia.

He is promising again a recovery in 2015 from 0.9% growth to 4.7% because of improved rainfall pattern and rating the current tourist season prospects as "good".  The economic managers must rein in spending as necessary prerequisite to bringing the domestic debt situation under control.

It is a shame that because of the fiscal indiscipline of the Jammeh regime, the 2007 debt relief under HIPC and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative have been squandered.  Because we are back to where we were in 2007 as a debt distressed country.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Judge Simeon Abi threatens journalists in his courtroom

Nigerian Judge Simeon Abi 
The Nigerian mercenary Judge Simeon Abi, recruited by the Nigerian Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Hadi Saleh Barkum, not to dispense justice but to imprison the Gambian dictator's real and perceived opponents, threatened Gambian journalists covering the case of radio journalist Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay.

According to local reports, the judge accused journalists assigned to cover this highly political case of misquoting him and proceeded to threaten them with jail term.

Judge Simeon Abi was quoted as saying that a certain media house attributed his absence at the last schedule sitting of the court as a personal choice of opting to stay home.

In fact, we reported last week that he declared himself ill, a claim we determined to be false.  The judge was feigning illness as a favorite tactic of his to delay cases against political detainees whim Yaya Jammeh considers to be challenging his dictatorial rule.

The judges direct threats were followed with stern warning to journalists that he does not want to entangle with them in future.  It is not, according to the judge, the journalists who should determine when to come to work and when tp stay home.

Well, we have news for this arrogant and good-for-nothing judge that his salary and those of the Deputy Director of Prosecution and Yaya Jammeh are paid by the taxes of those very journalists he's threatening with jail time.  He owes them an apology and to cease using threats against journalists who are in his court to report to their respective readerships at home and abroad.

Central Bank is without a Board of Directors in the midst of an economic emergency

Amadou Colley, Central Bank Governor
As the Central Bank registers another dismal annual report to the National Assembly, it was being revealed that the institution charged with managing the country's monetary policy is operating without a Board of Directors since last year, according to reliable sources.

The terms of Benjamin Carr, Alh. Mustapha Ka and Geoffrey Renner have expired since last year with no sign of the renewal of their appointments nor the appointments of new Members to replace them.

This latest development can only be characterized as a dereliction of duty on the part of one of either the Governor of the Central Bank and/or the Minister of Finance.

Ultimately, the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh who continues to display lack of depth to comprehend the gravity of the spiraling public debt situation and the devastating effect it is already having on ordinary Gambians.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Radio journalist denied bail by Justice Simeon Abi, Alhagie Ceesay now in prison for 222 days

Justice Simeon Abi 
Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, Radio journalist
We reported last week that High Court Justice Simeon Abi, in the case of radio journalist, Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, reported sick, as he habitually does. as a means of delaying cases that the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh have interest in.  Today marked the journalist's 222 days in prison without bail foe an offence that is bailable.

In the past cases have been adjourned because the judge excused himself because he had to attend a meeting or was attending a workshop.

When he decided to show up for work today, he again denied the radio journalist bail for an offense that is bailable.  He said in the past that the accused will flee the jurisdiction of the court should he be bailed.

The judge is aware of the serious nature of the journalist's health condition.  He sustained an enlarged liver, feared to have been sustained while under severe physical and mental torture at the hands of the regime's tortures.

Judge Simeon Abi, acting under orders of the Deputy Public Prosecutor, a fellow Nigerian, who is the puppet of Yaya Jammeh, apparently has decided to keep an innocent young man behind bars.

These mercenaries figured that since the case has exploded in their faces by exposing the regime for the corrupt and incompetent judiciary it is maintaining that serves the interest of one-man i.e. Yaya Jammeh, they can continue to keep the journalist behind bars indefinitely.

They have apparently decided to keep Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay for as long as the public continue to tolerate such behavior for the regime and the judiciary or until he dies in their hands from wounds, and an enlarged liver sustained at the hands of the regime.    

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Are "economic crimes" being committed at the Jammeh Foundation for Peace?

According to the official website of Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP), it is "a charitable Foundation, which is non-sectarian, apolitical and philanthropic" which, in plain English, means it cannot be engaged in sectional/religious or political activities and in doing so, it will conduct its affairs in a not-for-profit manner.  For these
reasons, the Foundation will be tax exempt.

But is this what has been happening since the establishment of the Jammeh Foundation for Peace. Based on leaked information obtained from website detailing both the dollar-denominated and local currency bank accounts of the Foundation at the Trust Bank (Gambia) Ltd, a different and disturbing picture is painted from what is expected of a Foundation run by someone who would like to seen as President of The Gambia.

The JFP describes its objective as "genuinely investing in the development of humanity in general and Gambians in particular by the sector of education, health, agriculture and women and youth enterprise development."   While these are laudable activities, the transactional movements of the income and expenditures (or deposits and transfers) of the ledger seem to tell a different story.

To shed light on what's going on at the Foundation, a review of its account's history covering a span of approximately three years will facilitate the task.  Leaked information reveal that the JFP operate two accounts - one denominated in US dollars and another in the local currency. Yaya Jammeh personally operates the account as Founder and The Chief Patron of the Foundation that bears his name.

In subsequent blog posts, we will delve into the details of the accounts with a view to answering questions lingering in the minds of the public with regards to the huge funds deposited and withdrawn from the accounts by businesses such as Gampetroleum and Selectra AG - both privately-owned companies.

Gampetroleum is involve in the importation and retail of petroleum products while Selectra AG is an Italian-registered, owned by a Swiss national of Romanian extraction who somehow became Gambia's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in 2011, according to, an American website.  Based on The Daily Observer's published letter, the same gentleman is now the Ambassador-Designate of The Gambia to the French Principality of Monaco  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Is the Jammeh Foundation a money laundering operation??

Jammeh with ADC
Yaya Jammeh, the self-styled "dictator of development" has, apparently, been busy developing himself and his wife and two children at the expense of one of the world's poorest country - The Gambia.

Gambians and the international donor community have suspected that, like many of his African counterparts, Jammeh has been dipping his fingers into the public trough to finance his flamboyant life-style.

Many of his critics - this blogger included - have been unable to lay their hands on incontrovertible evidence until now.  Undoubtedly, mountains of evidence do exist, including circumstantial ones, but unmatched by accounts uncovered at the Trust Bank purportedly operated by the Gambian dictator under the account name of "Dr. Alh. Yahya Jammeh Foundation".  This revelation was made by the website operated by Jammeh's former Press Secretary.  

Two accounts, a US dollar-denominated and a local currency account, appeared to have both been personally operated by the Gambian dictator from State House and they both show transactions amounting to millions of US dollars between December 2012 and March 2014.

The foreign transactions seem to be revealing also some disturbing pattern as funds of seemingly dubious origins are moved around and across international boundaries - a conclusion based on the official addresses of the originators of some of the said funds.

This is, of course, one of many blogs that will address several Foundations set up by the Jammeh family, including the latest one, the Operation Save The Children Foundation established for and by Zeinab Jammeh, Gambia's First Lady, purportedly set up for philanthropic purposes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Radio journalist Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay is now 216 days in prison despite being gravely ill.

Justice Simeon Abi
Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay has now spent 216 days in prison for doing his job as radio journalist after his case was adjourned because the judge assigned to the case is feigning illness.

Justice Simeon Abi decided to call in sick today and thus the case was adjourned once more.  Simeon Abi is one of the dictator Jammeh's Nigerian mercenary judges recruited by another mercenary prosecutor named S. K. Barkum, another Nigerian who act both as the Deputy Public Prosecutor and Chief Recruiter of these hired hands from Nigeria.

Delaying the dispensation of justice is a favorite technique employed by the tyrannical regime that utilizes the services of these unsavory characters to victimize Gambians.

As we have reported previously, Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay is a victim of torture while he is in custody. His lawyer has revealed this information in court which was quickly dispelled by the prosecution.

It is because of the constant and sustained torture sessions applied on the journalist that he's currently suffering from an enlarged liver.  It is not that the grave medical condition of Mr. Ceesay  has not been brought to the attention of Judge Abi.  In fact, the judge asked the accused what was the problem when he noticed that he had difficulty walking. When Judge Abi asked, Mr. Alhagie Ceesay confirmed hat he was in pain at which time he was offered a chair to sit.

S. K. Barkum  -  DPP     
Despite his grave medical condition, Judge Simeon Abi, is deliberately and consciously inflicting further damage to the young journalist's health by deny him bail.

Judge Simeon Abi is feigning illness.  This is nothing new.  He has routinely used flimsy excuses to avoid attending to political cases that the regime has a vested interest.  For instance, he has adjourned the case previously because he was attending a meeting. In another occasion, he refused to show up for work to dispense justice because he was attending a workshop.

It is shameful that a judge will use such juvenile tactics to punish an innocent person by delaying justice.  Shame of Judge Simeon Abi and Deputy Public Prosecutor S. K. Barkum, both Nigerians, whose unprofessional ( and some would say criminal ) behavior will be reported to the appropriate Federal Authorities in Nigeria.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No comment

Mr. Falai Baldeh, a former opponent of Jammeh  who's now decided to join the dictator 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Is Jammeh after Nkurunziza's wealth?

Buhari, Conde with Jammeh looking on at AU in Addis  
Our blog post concerning the Burundi crisis that reported on Jammeh assuming the role of the self-appointed spokesman of his Burundian rogue counterpart has attracted a lot of mail from our esteemed readers, almost all, opposing the Gambian dictator's role actively campaigning against the proposed African Union's (AU) 5,000-man peacekeeping force being deployed in the strive-stricken country.

The likes of Yaya Jammeh - and other African dictators - working behind the scenes, are reluctant to endorse AU's move to deploy the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi ( MAPROBU) for self-preservation purposes.   Most of those African leaders working behind the scenes, including Jammeh who was acted as their spokesperson, will be facing their respective electorate in 2016 and 2017.

Almost all, to the leader, has done or is in the process of doing exactly what the Burundi leader has done in stay in power for another term i.e. manipulate the constitution that allows him to extend his term beyond the two terms allowed previously stipulated by the constitution.

A writer opined "Jammeh's siding with Nkurunziza to block AU's primitive, yet [it's] hinged on calculated bets made in the past that dealt him a winning hand..." To support this theory, the writer appears to be inviting us to connect the dots by saying " the rogue that is about to exit the corridors of power, win his trust and secure his stolen assets 'for safe keeping'."

A pattern has already been established by Jammeh. He did it to "Mobutu (gold), Abacha (cash and oil concessions) Charley-Boy Taylor (cash and real estate), Gbagbo (cash/gold/real estate)...and now Pious Pierre Nkurunziza.

We will add Qaddafi to Jammeh list of victims with the late dictator's investments in hotels (Atlantic Hotel) and other real estate holdings still in dispute between Jammeh and the various warring factions in Libya.

As Yaya Jammeh's role in his latest fray into another troubled spot comes into sharper focus, we will be monitoring his movements and those of his "business partners" who specialize in scams and petty criminality of the sort expected of street thugs.  It will not come as a surprise if Jammeh is not invited soon [since the Burundi leader has his hands full to pay Jammeh a visit] on a state visit to Bujumbura for his Addis Ababa grandstanding on behalf of Nkurunziza  in the coming days and weeks.