With barely 40 days before the Presidential elections, any fundraising activity by the Jammeh family looking for monetary contributions for its numerous foundations from individuals, parastatals, municipalities and private businesses purportedly for charitable purposes, must be viewed with suspicion bordering on disdain. Although there are no laws regulating the manner and extent to which political parties and candidates receive monetary contributions from individuals and private businesses; contributions from municipalities or parastatals should not be used to support presidential campaigns.
OSCF Gala Dinner
The fundraising gala dinner for the First lady’s OSCF scheduled for the 26th October 2016, almost a month before the presidential elections, and for which we are told that her husband has already made a handsome contribution of $ 28, 000 (about D1.4 million); could be a deliberate attempt to cover up the forceful solicitation of funds from quasi government enterprises and corporations.
What happened to the D10 million (US $ 210,000) received from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China donated for the expansion project of the pediatric and maternity wards of the Serekunda General Hospital? Has that money been already spent in less than two weeks? Also, why the APRC chief mobilizer spearheading this campaign?
It is no secret that political donations often come with expectation of favors such as government contracts which could lead to corruption and for this reason, many consider campaign contributions a form of legal bribery. In a country where the public enterprises are seen as the personal property of the president, many of the parastatals are in dire financial straits and in need of cash to finance their core operating activities let alone be making huge monetary contributions towards the re-election of Yahya Jammeh.
Funds from public corporations should not be used to support political campaign especially in an election that is characterized with vote rigging, intimidation and unfair playing field for the opposition parties. Election in the Gambia has always been a façade and the incumbent has perfected the art of politics for personal gain. Now without his main sponsors, the Taiwanese, Madame Jammeh has stepped in to fill up the void.
The children of the imprisoned UDP deserved support as well
If the First Lady is so passionate about the welfare of children in the Gambia, why she continues to turn a blind eye on the illegal imprisonment of UDP party militants especially those mothers that have been separated from their sons and daughters whose only crime is to be members of the opposition UDP.
Parastatals and municipalities should not be used to fund campaign contributions even if the government of Yahya Jammeh will be funding this year’s presidential election through budgetary allocation. In the absence of IEC control to regulate the manner to which political and candidates receive monetary contributions from individuals and companies, taxpayers money should not be used illegally to support Yaya Jammeh’s re-election. In the name of transparency it will be interesting to know how far the OSCF’s expansion project has progressed at the Serekunda General Hospital.
Written By An Insider Analyst