Yahya Jammeh’s nationwide tour started with a major setback, as communities have shunned the globally isolated Gambian dictator, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal, Jammeh is touring the country with rage, public rejection and paranoia. He is increasingly worried about his personal safety. He hardly maintains eye contact with the few school children and public officials lined up to welcome him at the Banjul ports and Barra. This is partly due to his failure as a liability despot, and the multiplication of his enemies list. Jammeh has burnt many bridges overtime and he is virtually a prisoner in his own backyard.
Exiting out from his palace in Banjul, Jammeh was welcomed by the State House mosque Imam Alhagie Momodou Lamin Touray and a handful of Jolla religious leaders, including some of his bodyguards. He greeted the people he met at the entrance of his house, before a prayer vigil was organized on behalf of the dictator. Jammeh then suddenly left with his motorcade for the ports, where he was accorded with a parade by the personnel of The Gambia Navy. He briefly inspected a guard of honor before throwing some ritual sacrifices into the river.
Jammeh was armed with body armor. He had a bullet proof jacket on. He could hardly walk straight due to the heavy armor protective guards he had on his body. He later boarded his private boat, which transported him to Barra. The journey was characterized by an Islamic recitation spearheaded by his Jolla ethnic group Islamic scholars.
Despite the heavy security escorting him in his boat, Jammeh also ensured that armed guards mounted a surveillance on the sea throughout his half an hour journey to Barra. Personnel of the Presidential Guards could be seen riding on small canoes while armed with machine guns, and rocket launchers.
Jammeh’s boat finally docks in Barra, where a contingent of soldiers, police men, and other servicemen chanted pro-Jammeh slogans. The soldiers could be seen running along the streets of Barra pledging their loyalty to the dictator. There were pockets of school children on the road welcoming Jammeh on the hot sun.
The Governor of the North Bank Region received Jammeh and his entourage on arrival. There were few villagers on the streets to welcome Jammeh, just like the similar poor reception Jammeh was accorded in Banjul. The streets doesn’t favor Jammeh at this hour. His motorcade drives around ghost streets and localities, leaving Jammeh to wonder what he has done to the people of The Gambia to warrant such a national snub.
Momodou Dahaba, the APRC chief crowd mobilizer, was somehow frustrated in his quest to cheer up the crowd to welcome Jammeh in Barra. The school children appeared hungry, malnourished and fatigue at the same time. They have been waiting for hours at the North Bank of Barra to receive Africa’s most delusional and ruthless dictator. Jammeh then emerged from his luxurious hummer car to waive at the students, who hardly pay attention to his passing motorcade.
Mr. Jammeh is expected to tour the country within nineteen days. He has been accompanied by some old guards of his ruling APRC party; some of whom he fired in the past. The tour will no doubt avail Jammeh with the opportunity to redeem himself politically, as he has lost the support of his countrymen. This is largely due to his bad economic and political policies.
Mr. Jammeh is presiding over a bankrupt government. Almost all sectors of national development have collapsed. Gambia’s international and domestic debt have reached its climax. The country is unable to attract foreign exchange earnings. Tourism, which is the backbone of the fragile economy, has collapsed. Jammeh is responsible for the demise of this very sector—with his irresponsible public speeches. He is always bashing the west and evidently his regime cannot function effectively without foreign aid. Thus, Jammeh is biting the spoon that feeds him and his country.
In addition to that, Jammeh has also taken over tourism, including other lucrative sectors of the economy. Now he is resorting to blaming the private sector for the country economic problems. Unless Jammeh takes full responsibility for the current predicament he puts The Gambia in, there cannot be economic and political recovery. He survives on lies, deception, storytelling and propaganda.
A government Minister said: “This is not a tour. It is a retreat tour to socialize sexually. Jammeh has no agenda on the table. He is going to spend his time on making love with young girls. The only good thing coming out from this retreat is the comedy aspect of it. People in this country are stressed out and Jammeh is going to give them things to laugh about. We will keep you posted with developments.”
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai