Dictator Jammeh wittingly excels in deflecting the attention of Gambians from the deafening cries of the unsettling daily economic hardships faced by most Gambians. Barely a week after obtaining $10.8 million from the IMF as an emergency loan in April to resuscitate the decaying Gambian economy, President Jammeh donated two cars plus an undisclosed amount of cash to Senegalese wrestler Eumeu Sene, a multi-millionaire who scooped more than 60 million CFA in his recent fight with Balla Gaye.
The gift generated unprecedented controversy and many observers raised concerns which accentuate the Dictator’s gesture as callous and inappropriate by drawing chilling parallels with the Gambian economic down-turn.
The most notable of those who fervently decried the lavish wastage of Gambia’s meagre resources was Fatou Camara, a one-time Press secretary to Yaya Jammeh. In her YouTube video which went viral within minutes of its uploading, she took on the King of Impunity; systematically laying out how the wasted huge amount of monies could have generated dividend for Gambians if it had been utilised as fittingly as she pointed. Amidst all these lamentably, President Jammeh appears to be rubbing it on Fatou Camara’s face by handing out another brand new car to 2STV presenter Becaye Mbaye last Thursday.
Whatever his motive, many observers regard the gifts as inappropriate and unjustified considering that both could have been decently utilised to purchase medical equipment and medicines for struggling Gambian Hospitals or better still donate the money and vehicles to the Ministry of Youths and Sports to ease the surmounting burden of youth unemployment thus avert them from risking their young lives using the backway to Europe where many perish in the Mediterranean Sea.
True, we may differ in our political view and alignment but the Gambia is one and we jointly own it. Its growth, security and fortification are not the responsibility of only a section of the population. Jammeh wants people who are morally and ethically constipated around him so that they can do his dirty jobs for him. As a consequence, he ends up making shameful decisions which have lasting devastating consequences on Gambians even long after he is gone. It is not an embellishment therefore to assert that there is no justification for his lavish gifts to both Gambians and foreigners who have not contributed in anyway whatsoever to the welfare and development of the Gambia. Albeit, others will owlishly argue that Jammeh is generous, his generosity is misplaced and often comes with strings attached. Reasons advanced for the gifts to Eumeu Sene is that he fell out with Balla Gaye is is thus using Sene to dent the ego of Balla. Similarly, the only fathomable reason to punctuate his gift to 2STV Becaye Mbaye is to help give his raptured image a face-lift in Senegal and further his propaganda among the senegalese to make it easy for him to hunt Gambian dissident in Senegal, who will not feel welcome in Dakar.
Regrettably, all these wastage of huge amounts are happening at the backdrop of economic hardships, political repression, and corruption with a decaying civil service. Lately, the Dalasi flopped to D80.5 against the British pound and similarly against other major world currencies spelling abysmal living condition for most Gambians. Moreover, three major municipalities could not pay their staff March monthly salary due to empty coffers. What is even more disheartening is the rate in which the Dictator depletes the national reserves and injecting new bank notes into the economy. Cost of living is sky-rocking by the minute yet President Jammeh continues to exude insensitivity and lack of empathy for poor Gambians.
Arguably, some will reason that people deserve the leader they get but Gambians are not known for being callous and insensitive as manifested by President Jammeh. Therefore, why is President Jammeh depriving Gambians their due? Many would have thought he would draw lessons from Fatou Camara’s You Tube video and the many positive observations which complimented it but no, he opts to dish out more cars and huge undisclosed amounts of US dollars to people who have no interest in the welfare of the country.