Friday, June 17, 2016

Is Gambia rising? Is Jammeh under pressure?

Is Gambia rising? Perhaps.  Is Jammeh under pressure? Most certainly. On the first question, the recent protest demonstrations, however intermittent and sparsely attended they've been, against the skewed electoral laws, suggest a change in the mood of the biggest opposition party (UDP) that it is no longer business as usual. And if the political problems of the country resulting from the corruption and incompetence of the regime are to be ultimately resolved in the streets, so be it.  The UDP leadership has concluded that all other legal and civil means have failed in the face of Jammeh's increasing hostility towards the opposition.

On the second question, Jammeh is certainly under pressure from his opponents at home, regionally and internationally.  From the recent Gambia-Senegal border closure that lasted for over three months to the European Parliament's resolution that recommended sanctions for its member states against the Jammeh regime and the most recent condemnation of the Gambian dictator from Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations for the Prevention of Genocide over a speech widely considered as incitement of violence against the Mandinka ethnic group, it is evident that political pressures are being applied from various direction.

Pressures on Jammeh are not only political but economic as well.  He presided over the decline of an economy, though small, was once the envy of the ECOWAS region as being well-managed and growing when he seized power illegally in 1994.  Today, the economy has been in a negative growth territory from which it is struggling to emerge from.  Gambians are poorer and less food secure than they have ever been.  The population is demanding a better standard of living.

Jammeh's troubles are just beginning.  They will compound as international civic society organizations - there are none in The Gambia - and Diaspora group of dissidents continue their campaign against a regime that appears to be on its final throes as Jammeh continues to display mental anguish and erratic behavior while neglecting his sacred duty to govern.

In our article just published in the Foreign Affairs magazine, a Council on Foreign Affairs flagship publication, we tried to outline the problems, challenges and solutions to Gambia's problems which are deeply rooted in one man - Yaya Jammeh.  Hope you enjoy the piece entitled "Gambia rising? Jammeh under pressure."