|This is Yaya Jammeh in 1994|
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.