Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Is Jammeh losing grip of the country?

APRC Party Headquarters destroyed by arson fire
The 30th December 2014 attack on State House in Banjul by a group of Gambian dissidents resident abroad was the mark of a new phase in the battle to oust Yaya Jammeh from power.

The attacks, though unsuccessful in dislodging the much-hated Gambian dictator, succeeded in sowing the seeds of discord and suspicion within the various security services resulting in a degree of dysfunction among the ranks.

Dissidents have upped their game since then and the spate of recent arson attacks against Jammeh's business and political interests are testimony to the new strategy.

The gutting of the APRC headquarters by arson fire which occured a few days ago is the latest in a rash of similar torching of facilities belong to Yaya Jammeh.

The attacks have raised the specter of discord and suspicion among the various security services.  The security council meeting convened after the APRC headquarters attack was acrimonious with an element of finger pointing.

How could a group of persons enter the building, neutralize the security, burn the valuable contents of the party headquarters and then escaped is the main preoccupation of Yaya Jammeh who is demanding answers from his security service chiefs?  Who knew what and when?  There is a discernible division among the various security services which can only weaken Jammeh's grip on power.

 The National Security Council was convened in the absence of the Security Council Chairperson, Isatou Njie-Saidy, who has been absent from office for a little over a month due to ill health.

Visibly shaken as a result of the rash of arson attacks, Jammeh's behavior has grown increasingly erratic.  He is reportedly demanding answers from members of his security apparatus some of whom have become prime suspects.

Twenty two years of Jammeh's dictatorial rule appears to have taken its toll on the patience of a growing number of Gambians who have been denied their basic human rights under a repressive regime that does not tolerate dissent of any kind.

Many Gambians feel that the regime has failed in delivering on many of its promises, especially on providing the basic needs of ordinary Gambians.  Unemployment is high, especially among the youth resulting in mass exodus to Europe via the treacherous Mediterranean.

The economy has been contracting since Jammeh seized power in 1994 as a result of mismanagement and high level corruption.  Basic food commodities are in short supply and when they are available they are unaffordable rendering a third of the Gambian population to be food insecure.

It is the accumulation of the failures of the regime of Yaya Jammeh's that has generated the growing number of Gambians opposed to the status quo who are determined to rid him of The Gambia as Jammeh's popularity takes a precipitous decline.

This is a developing story ....