|African economic migrants walking along a Libyan desert road|
This is blog post first published July 7th, 2014
One of the most painful legacies that the Jammeh regime will be the emptying of The Gambia of its youthful population. It pains me to say that a disproportionate number are of these economic and human rights migrants are non-Jolas. We cannot discuss the Jammeh regime without talking about tribalism as an instrument of suppression by playing one tribe against another.
At this point of this narration, it is tempting to say it is to be expected because Mandinka and Fulas, in particular, form the largest chunk of the country's population, thus should form a majority in many categories which is generally true, but only to a point. The social status categories like high-paying jobs in the public service, scholarship awards and membership to statutory Boards paint a different picture. The trend is scary, and more so when the qualifications and experience do not seem to be correlated with the numbers of the one of the smallest and least educated of one section of our population.
It is important to note at this point that our faith in the Gambian people is unshakable. Many politicians of past years who tried using tribe as a divisive tool have failed, and Jammeh will fail also.
The Daily Observer warned us this morning of the scourge of economic migration and the risk involved in venturing in small boats and canoes on their journey to Europe via Italy - a journey that usually end up in tragedy. The regime's official mouth piece, blames the youth's lack of "strong commitment" to the Motherland, implying that these young men and women are more committed to their respective families.
After all, these economic migrants are making the trip because "they are pursuing work in foreign countries in order to support themselves and their families" according to the Daily Observer.
|Boat full of African migrants|
Nothing from our friends at the Daily Observer about the causes of this frantic pace of adventurism into the unknown at extraordinary risks. Could it be that the regime’s inability to make it attractive for these young people to stay at home? Unemployment is high and getting higher, while the lucky few to be employed have seen that wages stagnate, eroding their purchasing power to a level that cannot sustain life. Yet they see their Great Leader ride around town in a Rolls Royce. The insensitivity and the tone deafness of this regime is bordering on insanity.
The Daily Observer continues to blame the young men and women for not investing locally the money they pay for the dangerous trip, which assumes that there is free entry and exit in an economy that is directed by one man - Yaya Jammeh. How many houses built by Gambian retirees and those living in Europe have been bulldozed by Yaya Jammeh, and their land seized without due process? Why are businessmen/women fleeing Gambia for friendlier and safer destinations for their investments; these include Jammeh closest business partners.
The Gambian economy is contracting because of its mismanagement, and the contraction will continue. In fact, the economy is headed for a complete collapse. The young men and women venturing out at seas see the bleak future, and they are voting with their feet, and they see it worth the risk.