Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It's time to abandon ship !

Sidi Sanneh  
The imposition of a visa ban by the United States on "employees of the Gambian government" is the latest in a series of recent developments that serve as reminders that the 22-year dictatorship of Jammeh is coming to an end.

The ban extends beyond government employees to include "employees of certain entities associated with the government, and their spouses and children."

Managing Directors and members of senior management of quasi-government agencies like Gambia Ports Authority, GNPC, NAWEC GAMTEL/GAMCELL, to name a few, are all affected by the ban.  And so are all locally-registered private entities, including consulting companies that do business with the regime of Yaya Jammeh.

Ousman Sonko,  Jammeh's former Interior Minister saw it coming and consequently  planned his exit several months ago.  He has escaped to Sweden where he is seeking political asylum.  Unconfirmed sources have also reported that Justice Basiru Mahoney, who served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice has resigned his post but not before he reached the safe distance of London in the company of some family members.

There are also many others in key positions in the security forces who are preparing the way to abandon a regime that is faltering and increasingly losing its way. Gambia's youth are leaving the country in droves, sapping the youthful vitality that the country must have to achieve a strong and balanced growth and development.

Base on UNHCR's figures, The Gambia is considered one of the "fastest emptying countries" in the world behind Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq Nigeria and Eritrea, The high rate of out-migration which is caused by bad economic policies coupled with the regime's increasing use of repressive measures to control the population is unsustainable and will prove to be a formidable impediment to future growth and development of Gambia's economy.

To accelerate the demise of the 22-year dictatorship, key personnel must take to the exits because Jammeh is making things worse and not better, making future recovery a difficult task if not an impossible one.

The damage to the economy, and not to speak of the national identity, has been so extensive and comprehensive that it will take generations to put things back together.  It is time to abandon a regime that has proven to be repressive, corrupt and incompetent.  The sooner the regime is in Gambia's rear view mirror, the better.