Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Yaya Jammeh has lost his grip on power

Yaya Jammeh is seen here yesterday in a stretched Hummer convertible filled with soldier in full battle gear on his way to touring the provinces.  What he's going to tell the farmers whose groundnut crops were let rotting in the fields for lack of government finances to purchase them from farmers whose only income is derived from their annual groundnut production.  Jammeh has bankrupted the Gambia Groundnut Corporation (GGC) which, according to government proposal, is to be subsumed into another agency whose formation is yet to receive parliamentary approval.

Jammeh is facing the political fight of his life.  The opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has been demonstrating against his corrupt regime for a month running.  To suppress the protest demonstrations, his undisciplined and ruthless military has been using excessive force which has led to several deaths and has produced numerous arrest and victims of rape by members of a torture team run by Yankuba Badjie, Director General of the infamous National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

The excessive use of force by Jammeh's military has brought swift international condemnation, culminating in a European Parliamentary Resolution that calls for member states to consider applying targeted sanctions against senior members of his regime.  The EU resolution has furthered the diplomatic and economic isolation of a country that is among the poorest in the world.

Over the weekend, the Guinean president, Alpha Conde, visited Jammeh with a message from his counterparts in the ECOWAS asking him to consider stepping down after the end of his current term which ends in December.  He was also urged to release  Ousainou Darboe, the opposition party leader, and all political prisoners. The EU resolution also calls for an independent and thorough investigation of the death of Solo Sandeng the UDP youth leader who died under custody following his arrest after leading a demonstration last month for electoral reform.

The regime of Yaya Jammeh is bankrupt and public institutions on the verge of absolute collapse because corruption is rife.  Most of the senior officials manning the institutions are unqualified because tribal affiliation and blind loyalty - not to the state but to Jammeh - is more important to the dictator than competence or other qualities and qualification.

With all these pressures facing him, Jammeh would rather divert the nation's attention away from his woes compounded by the recent breakdown of border closure negotiations in Dakar guaranteeing that the closure will continue beyond the month of Ramadan.  Food and fuel shortages will be consequence of a prolonged impasse of the border crisis further exerting pressure on a dictator whose support among Gambians have plummeted in the past year or two.  

To give the impression that he is still in charge, he drives around in stretched Hummer convertible, as seen here, filled with soldiers in full battle dress designed to intimidate a population that has grown tired of him and his regime.  Gambians want him to step down and so are many of his counterparts in ECOWAS.