I believe that the general paranoia among members of the APRC regime and its armed forces is because they live with fear, if not outright terror, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 52 weeks a year. This is bound to have an adverse effect upon their tortures and murders. 

LeighThis fear starts at the very highest level. Jammeh lives in terror of a multitude of things. First and foremost, he fears assassination. He knows this happened to Kabila the Fat Toad of the Congo. Around the world, many of his fellow dictators have been killed or brought to book, and the list continues to grow. He knows that he can’t trust anyone, no one at all. It is said that he never sleeps in the same place two nights running.

Next, he fears the people. The recent demonstration gave him a very nasty shock when the crowd he thought were admirers instead ridiculed and taunted him and called him names. He has seen “people power” in action around the world and knows that, eventually, even the docile Gambians will probably rise up against him. 

He fears the UN and the international community. Almost everyone out there is speaking out against his brutality and incompetence. And now even the AU has dared to criticise him publicly. He fears a pre-emptive strike by the United States because he has seen this happen to his few friends and allies. He also fears the USA, UK and EU because they are united in condemnation of him and his regime. 

He is terrified of being deposed by one of his supposed lieutenants, and then being humiliated by having to stand trial for his actions as has happened to Saddam and Milosevic. He knows very well that he is hated by the people he has oppressed and brutalised over many years. 

At the next level, his cronies in the politburo and cabinet live in fear for many of the same reasons as Jammeh. But added to that is the fear of their unpredictable leader, who will not hesitate to destroy them if he believes they have accumulated too much power. Now their fear has been increased because it is becoming increasingly apparent that he is not well mentally, which makes his actions even more unpredictable. 

Below that we have the general level of chefs, politicians etc. These too are afraid of the anger of the people. They are also terrified of losing all their looted wealth. Because they have helped destroy the rule of law they know that what they have is solely at the whim of those above them; what was given can just as easily be taken away. They are also terrified of plots and the all-pervasive envy of their colleagues. That is the way patronage works – in order to keep everyone involved toeing the line. 

As we go down through the ranks we find that the fear is all-encompassing. Many are not in prison solely because of the protection of patronage. Others too know that everything they have can be taken away, because it is not theirs legally anyway. That is the way the web of corruption and patronage spreads out from the poisonous spider at its centre. 

What this achieves is to make Jammeh’s supporters mere slaves to the regime. They do not actually own anything legally and their very freedom is at the whim of the person on the rung of the ladder above them. It is no wonder therefore that they hiss and spit at anyone and anything that would seem to threaten the status quo, because every minute of their lives is lived in fear, looking over their shoulders or terrified of the envy of their colleagues. 

The anger and hatred they show every day towards all those who are not with them in their crimes is just the other face of the fear and terror they feel as the pressure against them mounts, slowly and inexorably, day by day.

Written By Sulaiman Leigh  UK

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