Gambia – Democracy or Dictatorship?
Regime change and destabilization is currently spreading across the African continent. The reason for the majority of it being the transfer of power from the US/UK Trans-Atlantic IMF/World Bank financial system to the China/Russia BRICS financial system. From South Africa to Burundi countries are being destabilized through foreign funded opposition movements in what is becoming the modern day version of a military coup.
Gambia is a West African country, surrounded by neighbouring Senegal. A former British colony whose primary income is foreign aid, agricultural exports and tourism. It is effectively a dictatorship under Yahya Jammeh with recent heavy crack-downs on opposition members and dissenters that in the last few months have shown unusual and rare displays of disapproval towards the government. People are justifiably tired of unfulfilled promises and the enduring austerity of increased taxation. But in the case of Gambia, is the presidency of Yahya Jammeh to blame or IMF economic policy and can a remedy be found by removing Jammeh or by removing the IMF ?
With a population of a mere 1.8 million it is hard to understand why billions in aid and development money has not managed to make each and every citizen a very wealthy person. In fact it defies logic that 48% of Gambians live on less than $2 a day. But that in itself is the picture of the African continent under the IMF/World Bank financial system. Gambia exports its raw materials such as peanuts. It does not export significant amounts of products like peanut oil. Manufacturing accounts for 6% of GDP. Gambia`s economy is aid dependent. And that is exactly the status quo that the IMF wants to maintain.
Pres. Jammeh is changing direction for the Gambia.The process for removing the country from the Trans-Atlantic IMF financial system began in 2013 when Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth.Jammeh`s reason was that it is a neo-colonial system.Which it is. The Commonwealth, like Francafrique, is a legally binding club that relies on foreign aid as a form of bribery.
Pres.Yahya Jammeh image – Wikipedia creative commons.
Gambia has since turned to the BRICS nations for financial assistance and has made a number of agreements with China towards production development and infrastructure projects.
A recent EU loan was denied the country on the grounds of alledged human rights abuses.Which leads to the question of what exactly are human rights.The United Nations preaches gender equality, democracy and freedom of speech. Such rights are inalienable human rights but what about the right to a decent standard of living in a healthy economy or the right to clean water and reliable electricity, the right for all Gambians to a modern standard of living in a modernized and developed country?
The IMF and World Bank both institutions that are dominated by the voting power of the Commonwealth, have had over 60 years to develop the African continent. Their debt based financial system has impoverished billions and enriched only a hierarchy of power.
The Trans-Atlantic financial system through its agent NATO has a history of fighting for democracy and removing dictators. Iraq and Libya ( and now possibly Syria )are destroyed countries where millions have lost their lives and millions more live in poverty but the United Nations can celebrate on their behalf, that those countries now have democracy not dictatorship. Pres.Jammeh and Pres. Nkurunziza of Burundi may not be big enough fish to fry with economic boycotts and NATO`s full military might so other methods are being used instead.In Burundi the UN have been investigating alledged atrocities perpetrated by the administration of Pres. Nkurunziza. Physical evidence of these atrocities have yet to be found unlike the financial funding of the opposition party by Washington via Rwanda.
So what does dictatorship in Gambia look like? Jammeh has been in power since 1994 during which there has been peace and stability. The state education system has seen tremendous progress and Gambians now have their own university.
University of Gambia, image – designboom.com
Jammeh has focussed a great deal on the nation`s history and has made it a cultural focal point with the main museum in the capital city, Banjul . While it is a small museum in terms of size, there are a number of well-loved historic and cultural artifacts.(The rest of which are still the loot of the British Museum in London.) History for this nation is indeed a source of national pride, having once been part of the magnificent Malian Empire which bought Islam to the region nearly 1000 years ago. .
Environmentalism is natural to Gambians who do not need United Nations directives dictating to them how to care for their natural kingdom. Gambia`s first president Dawda Jawara, was a veterinarian and before and since those days the wildlife has been treasured, in particular the birdlife of which Gambia has over 600 native species.
Jammeh has received notoriety for his stance on AIDS, a disease which although far from prevalent in the country, affects a percentage of the population.He announced in 2007 that he could cure AIDS using natural medicine.His success rate is high and he is in the process of building a purpose built hospital for treatment.
A requirement from his patients is that they discontinue all antiretroviral medication. Given that ARVs are highly toxic and in fact destroy the immune system, that in itself, may account for the high recovery rate.
Whatever Jammeh is, strong leader or dictator, is irrelevant so long as the direction in which Gambia is headed will provide a bright future for the next generation.Such a future should not include Gambians drowning in the Mediterranean in search of Europe`s Eldorado but a future where Gambian products, grown, produced and manufactured by Gambians in Gambia are sold in European markets.A future where we can meet as economic equals on river cruises along the country`s national treasure, the River Gambia, and enjoy the beauty and abundance that this amazing land and nation has to offer.
Wassu Stone Circles of Gambia. Image – Paul Callaway, megalithic.co.uk