By: PPP Media
Hon. OJ had a series of Online Radio interviews on Gainako and Freedom radios on the week of February 18th, 2015, to commemorate Gambia’s 50th Independence anniversary. The purpose of the interview blitz was to set the records straight, comparatively, and to give the fitting tribute to our Independence heroes. The AFPRC junta and Dictator Yahya Jammeh have spent 20 years minimizing and downplaying our attainment of independence from British colonial rule. The PPP under the leadership of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara fought and attained independence with its coalition partners. They did this with no shortage of doubters and significant odds against them. Today, thanks to President Jawara, and the PPP, and its Coalition partners, Gambians are Not speaking French today, and Not one of Senegal’s provinces. All of the allegations that Jammeh made against the PPP; of corruption, nepotism, have never been proven in a court of law. Hon. OJ was unapologetic in his assertion that, today, President Jawara and the PPP are vindicated. By any measure Gambians quality of life and standard of living, sense of security, international standing, and freedoms, and the economy have declined significantly.
Politically, since the violent and illegal overthrow of the PPP administration in 1994, the AFPRC junta has become an absolute dictatorship with no tolerance for dissent. The junta has enough people in prison now to run a government. The three branches of government have become one under the executive , with Yaya Jammeh routinely ignoring the rulings of the courts. There is no more press freedom, or freedom of association, or assembly. Several radio stations have been closed simply for interviewing opposition leaders. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) are, for all intents and purposes, have no independence and are in danger of losing all credibility. OJ warned that the Judiciary and the IEC are two pillars and institutions responsible for maintaining stability and people’s trust in their government, but are in constant assault from the regime. There is no more local autonomy in administration, because the junta has eliminated peoples’ ability to elect their own Alkalolus or chiefs. Now Dictator Jammeh imposes local authority, making it an extension of his tyranny. This is the same man, Yaya Jammeh, who claimed that 10 years was too long for anyone to be in power, that he will never bring dictatorship to Gambia that his image will never be on the Dalasi!
Our foreign relations. Gambia has never been more isolated and forsaken by development partners. Yaya Jammeh’s bellicose and adversarial foreign policy has turned little Gambia into a pariah state. Developing countries need development partners, and not dependency partners like Jammeh is trying to build now in Middle East, Our relations with our most important partner and neighbor, Senegal, are at their lowest since independence, because of Jammeh’s juvenile approach to our relations. Our trade relations are not getting better either, because of Jammeh’s belligerence, weak institutions, corruption and nepotism on steroids.
On the economic front, Hon. OJ reminded the audience that life under the AFPRC regime has become unbearable. According to Hon. OJ, prices of basic commodities, since 1994 have risen by some 1000% or more in some instances. The price of a bag of rice under President Jawara in 1994, was about D140, today under the APRC junta is over D1, 400! Yaya Jammeh challenged Gambians early on not to re-elect him if he did not provide reliable electricity for the whole country in five years. Today, the electricity situation is worse than any time before. The Barra/Banjul ferry crossing and Farafenni have become an embarrassment, and an economic eyesore. People are at the mercy of the waters anytime they step into those rickety boats to cross to the other side of the river. The Banjul/Barra crossing used to take 30 minutes at most before 1994, now it is taking some hours to do so, after some a whole day to get in the boats . The Jammeh junta inherited revenue generating institutions like Gamtel, GPMB, SSHFC, Cooperative Union, Livestock Marketing Board, GPTC, just to name a few. Today, these great institutions, and bedrock of our economy, employing thousands of Gambians, have been run into the ground, not to mention dozens of private stakeholders who have been run out of town through confiscatory policies. Hon. OJ also challenged the audience to show him any revenue generating state institution, employing more than 400 Gambians for over a year that the Jammeh regime has created. Jammeh, on the other hand, has created a parallel economy, from stealing state funds, to enrich himself. Today, Yaya Jammeh has become the largest landowner and wealthiest person in the Gambia through stealing, and also of because of free labor provided by members of the armed forces and civil service. He is so busy enriching himself at our expense that he is oblivious to the fact the economy is collapsing all around him.
Because of chronic youth unemployment, Gambian youths are dying in droves across the desolate Sahara Desert and unforgiving seas, just so they can have a better life. So many youths are dying in the so called “back way” that no media house, public or private, is allowed to announce obituaries related to them. Wealthy Gambians are no longer investing in their own country because of transaction costs, confiscatory taxes corruption. In fact, Gambians are divesting and running to Senegal or across the region to invest. Our best and brightest have left, some never to return alive, because of persecution, exclusion, and nepotism with rampant disregard.
Socially, there is a palpable level of disharmony because of Jammeh’s attempt to radically transform the country, by elevating one group at the expense of others. His efforts at re-write our history can also be seen in how he minimizes the achievements of our founding fathers. President Jawara’s administration was a true representation of our diversity, and was also based on merit. The PPP will continue to remind Gambians that all is not yet lost, but we have to work together to take our country back from tyranny. You are not immune to this state of affairs because you are sending more and more of your money, just so your families can maintain their dignity. It was never like this before, and we can do so much better.
We are asking for your kind donations as we prepare for the 2016 elections. Our current state of affairs is untenable and we need you, your family and friends, to join us and donate. We share your concerns but talk alone is not going to change anything. Please share this post across all platforms. Thank you
By: PPP Media