Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Jammeh's cash "donations" are obscene gestures.

Christians receiving D 2.3 million from VP, Njie-Saidy
Why would the Christian community accept such vulgarity in the midst of Gambia's worst economic crisis?

The D 2.3 million cash "donation by Jammeh as Easter gift" (equivalent to $ 46,000 that puts "smiles on the faces of the Christian community" as described by the regime's official mouthpiece, The Daily Observer.  It may have put a smile in some faces but, to many, the physical exhibit of raw cash during the presentation ceremony is an egregious display of bad taste.

The Gambia has fallen on hard times as a result of Jammeh's bad economic policies and a high level of corruption never experienced in over half a century of post-Independence history of the country.

Under Jammeh, the level of poverty has increased with rural poverty reaching inhumane levels.  As we speak, there are certain portions of the country, particularly the CRR, where Gambian children are dying of hunger despite the regime's claim that food security is a priority.  Its agriculture policies have failed disastrously in spite of claims of success in the regime's countless Visions.

Projects and government programs are starved of financial resources because of misappropriations and downright theft by a kleptocratic regime that the public treasury is indistinguishable from Jammeh's pocket.  It follows that all the physical cash on display in from of cameras and plastered across the official news outlets are resources belonging to the Gambian people.

It is, therefore, an obscene gesture to be seen making public display of stash of cash, using members of the Christian community as backdrop, for political propaganda purposes.  It is also uncivilized and uncouth.

It is ironic that Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy and Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall-Gaye who offered their full-throated support of Jammeh's unilateral decision to change the status of The Gambia from a secular to an Islamic State, are the very same persons now saying that Jammeh's declaration is meaningless, implying that it should be ignored.

And they used the occasion to make the announcement which suggests appeasement of a community that has been threatened by the idea of an Islamic State after living for years peacefully and side-by-side with the Muslim community.  The Christian community, like the rest of ordinary Gambians, deserve better treatment from a regime that continues to treat its citizens with contempt.

The respect the Christian community has earned over the years by resisting the temptation of being used as pawns in our fight against an unjust, incompetent and corrupt regime is on the verge of dissipating because of the community's flirtation with the dictatorship.  Gambians are suffering at the hands of Jammeh and his henchmen who conduct torture sessions regularly against a defenseless civilian population.  We expect the Church to be on the side of the oppressed and not the oppressor.

Finally, if the tainted money cannot be returned to the Gambian treasury, ALL of it should be used to help alleviate the suffering of the poor and destitute (including other victims of the regime) as proposed by a member of the Christian community.