Gambian Ministry of Interior also responsible for NGO affairs has ordered Concern Universal to close down operations in The Gambia, effectively last Friday, April 24, 2015.
In a three paragraph tersely written letter sent to the NGO, the Interior Ministry cited “executive directive” from the Office of the President as the force behind the abrupt closure of Concern Universal.
Concern Universal, founded in 1976, is an international development and emergency relief organization that works with people in Sub-Saharan Africa to find local, sustainable solutions to poverty and inequality. The NGO also helps farmers to grow enough food and earn a decent living, including livestock and agro-forestry practices.
Many believed that President Yahya Jammeh, who already has countless number of farmlands in his name across The Gambia, feared the impact of the agricultural empowerment programs of the NGO and decided to kick them out to ensure absolute monopoly in the agricultural food chain of the country.
The Gambian dictator is also the leading farmer in livestock production and horticultural products, dwarfing any serious effort by development partners to spread opportunities to farming communities, already impoverished by the failed policies of the his dictatorship.
Meanwhile, sources hinted that the NGO association was in Banjul trying to seek explanation from the Ministry of Interior and the Office of the President.
Concern Universal has offices in Dakar, Senegal, where it recently expanded into Casamance, south of Senegal.