Sunday, July 31, 2016

Zainab Jammeh is on a month-long family holiday at taxpayer's expense

Zainab Jammeh left Banjul International Airport this evening for what is billed as a family holiday to France.  In addition to her son and daughter, she will be accompanied by an entourage that include her sisters, brothers, sisters- and brothers-in-law who flew in from Guinea and Morocco to join the fun at Gambian tax payer expense.

The cost of the 20-person special flight and the holiday is estimated to cost the Gambian taxpayer over $ 2 million at a time when the foreign reserves at the Central Bank of the Gambia is less than two months of imports.

Few days ago, the trip was described as a medical trip for her daughter which appeared to have been concocted to make it less objectionable to the poor citizens of one of the poorest country on earth.

Given Gambia's economic condition and the fact that its citizenry is among the highest taxed, an expensive trip of this nature is as insensitive and it is a financially irresponsible proposition of s country that is under an International Monetary Fund's sanctioned staff monitored program.

This trip is coming at the heels of a newly informal business sector tax increases that will affect market women who sell garden vegetables to mechanics who fix flat tires to butchers who sell retail meat.  These basic commodities have now been priced out of the reach of ordinary Gambians.

Unemployment among Gambians in general and the young is particular has gone through the roof that has compelled Gambian youth to vote with their feet as expression of their dissatisfaction with a regime that has increasingly gotten out of touch with the mood of the country.

Mr. and Mrs. Jammeh are completely oblivious of and insensitive to the plight of a country whose economy has been completely destroyed by a regime that is progressively sliding into the abyss of decadence in the midst of abject poverty.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why Gambia's judiciary is corrupt

Chief Justice Emmanuel FAGBENLE
When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, whose services were terminated only for the Gambian dictator to reverse himself at the urging of his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, solicited an interview to praise-sign Jammeh's benevolence and to publicly thank him for "giving (them) ten brand new executive cars for the ten new judges and a new complex for their accommodation", the time has come for national self-examination of our sense of justice for Gambians.

In addition to the "executive cars", according to the Nigerian Chief Justice, Jammeh also "gave a staff bus meant to reduce the problem of staff mass transit or movement,' all in the name of "bringing justice to the doorstep of every Gambian."

In addition to providing new cars and a new residential building complex for his mercenary judges, Jammeh has, as of late, flooded the judiciary with twelve additional judges to cope with the hundreds of cases,, almost all political in origin but criminal in nature, that seem to have clogged the system.

The judiciary has become a favorite and potent instrument for a dictatorship that has an indisputable low tolerance for political dissent and the Nigerian mercenary judges, including Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle who initially joined the Justice Department as Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) under Nigerian Technical Assistance.  He was transformed into "local hire" at the end of his contract and he's now being paid by Gambian taxpayers.  It is, therefore, curious for him to consider, as gift. executive cars from Jammeh which suggests the extent of the blurring of the boundaries between the public treasury and Jammeh's pocket.

Chief Justice Fagbenle's previous position of DPP at the Justice Ministry is now occupied by another Nigerian national, S.K. Bakum who, like his predecessor, has also proven to be a prolific manufacturer of (false) evidence against Jammeh's political opponents..  Prior to being substantively appointed to the Chief Justice (CJ) post, he acted briefly as Chief Justice following the bizarre departure of the Ghanaian-born Chief Justice and before the arrival of the Pakistan-born Ali Nawaz Chawhan who was dismissed and expelled from The Gambia after a year on the job.  He refused to soil his international and professional reputation by carrying out the instructions of Jammeh, a judicial interference he neither accommodated nor tolerated.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian judges and prosecutors are a different breed as demonstrated by Chief Justice Fagbenle's using the official mouthpiece of the regime to praise Jammeh for his benevolence.  As long as Jammeh continues to bribe members of the judiciary by offering them "executive cars and luxury apartments" in addition to other perks, the Gambian judiciary will continue to serve the interest of the dictatorship and not the interest of the Gambian people.    

Monday, July 25, 2016

Gambia's presidential aircraft linked to international arms trafficking, AGAIN

Cars owned by Polish guntrafficker
Spanish police arresting suspects 
Yaya Jammeh escaped international indictment by the skin of his teeth over a decade ago following the close of the Liberian and Sierra Leone civil wars when he agreed with investigators and the prosecution team of the Sierra Leone Special Court  to denounce his friend Charles Taylor and publicly support his extradition from Nigeria.

The Gambian dictator was the only head of state in the region willing to speak out against Charles Taylor in 2005 which provided the cover needed for international authorities to move in on Jammeh's former friend and close collaborator.
Jammeh's presidential aircraft

His multi-functional Millennium presidential aircraft doubled as military transport plane, ferrying arms and blood diamonds across the region and Europe.  The role that the late Baba Kajali Jobe who was Qaddafi's close friend, Jammeh's youth mobilizer and founder of the 'Green Boys' played in managing the Millennium.

The Russian-made aircraft was traced to the notorious Russian international arms trafficker named Victor Bout currently serving a 35-year jail sentence in the United States for conspiracy to kill U.S citizens and officials, transporting anti aircraft weapons and aiding terror organizations.

Given Jammeh's international intrigues and dubious business activities that involve notorious arms traffickers and dealers in blood diamonds during the Liberian and Sierra Leone civil wars, it did not come as a surprise when Spanish police announced the arrest in the Balearic Island of Ibiza of a billionaire Polish national for trafficking in dangerous arms and extortion.

The unnamed Polish man claimed to be a diplomat from Guinea-Bissau and thus his island residence is covered by diplomatic immunity.  It is also alleged that he used Yaya Jammeh's presidential aircraft to transport military grade weapons to the troubled South Sudan.  The unnamed man is one of nine others arrested at his home by Spanish police investigating illegal military weapons that include military tanks and rocket launchers.

Our sources are telling us that the Gambian Embassy in Guinea-Bissau is the epicenter of this story and Gambia's semi-literate Ambassador Abdou Jarju a principal actor in this developing story.

Developing story ......


Saturday, July 23, 2016

United States joins the uproar, condemns harsh sentences by Nigeria mercenary judges

The United States State Department issued a statement condemning what it considers to be harsh sentences handed out to 30 members of The Gambia's largest political party by two Nigerian mercenary judges from two jurisdictions of Banjul and Mansa Konko.

All 30, including Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and members of his party's executive members and supporters were handed a 3-year jail sentences each.

Those tried in Mansa Konko, a town 110 miles away from where the alleged crime of peaceful demonstration took place - which raised jurisdictional issues - included three female supporters who were severely tortured and sexually assaulted at the hands of agents of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Judge Eunice O. Dada
   Judges Eunice Dada and Simeon Abi, both Nigerians, sentenced the two groups of opposition party members in two separate trials, choreographed to coincide with the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the coup d'etat that brought Gambian dictator, Yaya Jammeh, in 1994.

To sentence the entire leadership of the largest opposition to 3-year terms each, months before the scheduled presidential elections is a calculated move by the Gambian dictator to eliminate any and all credible elections in which the opposition will play an unfettered role.  The Nigerian judges have been brought in to ensure the dictatorship prevails in the coming elections.

The United States statement raises concern about the fairness of the trials and whether due process was observed.  America is also "deeply troubled by the reported torture of protesters and opposition figures and the death in custody of opposition leader Solo Sandeng," the
statement continued.

Justice Simeon Abi 
The Obama administration further calls for the immediate release of all those 30 sentenced this week including every protester arrested during last April demonstrations.  The statement also calls for the conduct of an independent investigation of allegations of torture and abuse.

Finally, the U.S. government is also calling on the regime of Yaya Jammeh to guarantee the constitutional rights of every Gambian to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Nigerian Bar Association president says Darboe's prison sentence is "troubling and disturbing".

Nigerian Bar Association president

Justice Eunice O. Dada, the Nigerian mercenary judge who sentenced Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the leader of Gambia's largest opposition political party to a 3-year prison term together with eighteen members of his party executive is becoming a focus of international attention as well Mr. Augustine Alegeh, president of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA.

In a Radio France International interview, the head of the Nigerian Bar Association said while unsure if Justice Eunice Dada was under Nigeria Federal Government Technical Assistance program or direct hire by the regime,  Nigeria is a traditional development partner and has supplied Gambia with Supreme Court judges in the past.

While considering the decision to send the main opposition leader to jail in an election year to be "disturbing", he has asked a colleague in Banjul for a certified copy of Judge Dada's decision before giving a definitive response to the decision.

The president of the Nigerian Bar said he finds it "curious and strange"for Justice Dada to have taken on the job of judge in a highly political case involving leader of the main opposition party in an election year, especially after another Nigerian judge, Justice Ottaba secured himself from the case for discussing the details of the case during an online radio interview.
                                                                 
                                                                        #######



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Petroleum procurement scandal: What is at stake

After successfully dismantling governments central procurement mechanism - Tender Board - when he seized power only to halfheartedly re-established after twenty years of centralizing all government purchases in the Office of The President, Jammeh is hoping that Gambians will forget that there was a functioning and efficient system in place since Independence.

However, listening to him on national television explaining how the system worked then made those familiar with how the Tender Board functioned wondered if Jammeh had any clue.  If you ask me, the guy is clueless.  He broke the system, used his power as Chairman of the AFPRC to enrich himself, his fellow Council members and his business cronies cronies.

Exploiting the vacuum he acted as the sole member of the Tender Board by deciding what the AFPRC will purchase and from whom to purchase  and where to purchase it from.  These goods and services range from who will build the Arch-22 and the terminal building of the Banjul International Airport to the make and model of vehicles and from which dealers to procure them from.  A great deal of wealth was accumulated from loans and grants raised from non-traditional sources like Taiwan, especially during the period when donors withheld aid immediately following the coup d'etat.

This brings us to the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation.  Prior to it being nationalized, all petroleum and petroleum products procurement was done for at least five years by Mohammed Bazzi, the Lebanese-Syrian, a business partner of Yaya Jammeh.  These products ranged from petrol, diesel and jet fuel for petrol stations and airport to heavy fuel and lubricants for NAWEC all procured by a single source for all of the country.

The monopoly condition was created by none other than Jammeh himself that carved out this lucrative environment for his Lebanese friend and business partner.  How lucrative you might wonder.  According to sources, a metric ton of fuel cost US$ 400 which it sold NAWEC and others for US$ 700.  With annual consumption in tens of thousands of metric tons, million of dollars in annual profits were realized in for nearly five years from 2010 to last year when procurement reverted to government.  Government and NAWEC now buys at US $ 400 per metric ton instead of $ 700.  Profits were deposited in Lebanese banks and not Gambian ones which certainly didn't help the nation's foreign reserves and balance of payment

Even though the Mandinari petroleum storage facility now belongs to government and it procures its own petroleum, every effort is being made by Jammeh's business partners the procurement is done to regain the privilege and highly profitable procurement venture.  This explains the mass arrests of officials of the Ministries of Petroleum, Energy and GNCP, accused of "economic crimes" which Jammeh says has cost the state US$ 12 million.  

Make no mistake, bribery and corruption are prevalent in the sector according to our sources but by exaggerating and dramatizing the problem on national television, Jammeh laying the groundwork to return the procurement functions back to Muhammed Bazzi and his other business partners.  The procurement of petroleum and related products is too lucrative to be left in the hands of public officials.  The Lebanese businessmen want the business to revert to them and Jammeh is laying the foundation for it to happen by accusing senior Gambian officials and a businessman of economic crimes.          

Nigerian mercenary Judge Dada sentences Gambian opposition leader, party executives to 3-year terms

Judge Dada and Mr. Dada 
Justice E. O Dada who has become the favorite judge-for hire cum hanging judge of the Gambian dictator Yaya Jammeh has. once more, done the bidding for one of Africa's most brutal regime by sentencing Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) - Gambia's largest opposition party.

The opposition leader was sentenced to three years at the notorious Mile II prisons. Several members of the executive committee who were arrested together with the party leader in April of this year for peacefully protesting following the death in custody of a youth leader who was also protesting in favor of electoral reform.

Justice Dada's biased and unprofessional behavior throughout the show trial drove us to comment in a previous blog post that her insolent demeanor towards the defense team and, by extension the court, brought shame to the Gambian judiciary and to her country - The Federal Republic of Nigeria.  Ousainou Darboe, a legal luminary of over forty years of law practice was treated with contempt by a judge who could only be a judge in Yaya Jammeh's Gambia.
Seven new Nigerian mercenary judges including E.O.Dada  

In her ruling, she tried to assure the Gambian people that the Nigerian judges were in the Gambia to uphold Gambian law which is, with all due respect, callous and false.

These judges were recruited off the streets of Lagos and Abuja by a brutal, corrupt and incompetent regime to man its courts as an addition repressive measure against an exhausted and defenseless population that has endured 22 years of Jammeh's dictatorship.

The Gambian judiciary is an integral part of the  of the state's machinery that is being used as a blunt instrument of repression.  Yaya Jammeh dictates to the judiciary by directly issuing instructions to judges including the judgement passed by Justice E. O. Dada today.  She intended to defer judgement until next week - for reasons known to her - only to reverse course by issuing her verdict an hour later.  It is believed that she was instructed to proceed with the verdict.  It was a farce.  

In a press release, the United Democratic Party expressed sentiments shared by many Gambians that this was not a trial.  The statement continued that the trial "was a farce and an attempt by the criminal regime of Yaya Jammeh to thumb its nose at the Gambian people in particular and the wider international community who are adamant that the government fully account for its murderous conduct surrounding the peaceful events of April 14th and 16th."



Monday, July 18, 2016

Obasanjo's visit: Another missed opportunity?

Obasanjo at the Institute for Peace, Washington DC 
The Gambian opposition parties are so much in disarray that they've become as much a threat to the peace, political stability and security of the state for the lack of apparent lack of wherewithal to present a united opposition front.

To check the ever increasing power of the dictatorship, the opposition must unite, not only in words but in deed.

Unfortunately, the opposition parties have failed both tests and, in the process, are failing Gambia and Gambians in the discharge of their constitutional duty to serve as a countervailing force against tyranny.

To deny that the opposition is irreparably fractured is to deny the obvious. The acrimonious relationships between opposition parties - fueled primarily by party surrogates with political agendas of their own - is in full display, at least in social media that play an influential role in Gambian politics.  

The dysfunctionality of the opposition has been painfully exposed last week by two events, one of which was the subject of our most recent blog post i.e. the vicious and malicious attacks based on insinuations and not on facts on the newly formed Gambia Democratic Congress by certain elements within the opposition.  Instead the politically astute thing to do - expedient thing, to others - was to welcome the new kid on the block with open arm with the ultimate objective of getting them on board the fight for electoral reform and other opposition preoccupations.  It was an opportunity missed representing an unforced error expected of political novices and not opposition veterans.  The memory of Ebrima Solo Sandeng must be in the collective consciences of every opposition party member going forward.                          

The second event that occurred last week reminded us, yet again, of the dysfunctionality of the opposition was the one-day visit of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo to Banjul. According to official reports, he met with Jammeh to discuss bilateral matters (between Nigeria and Gambia) which made very little sense because Buhari is the sitting head of state and not Obasanjo. Although bilateral issues may have been discussed, they were not central to the visit.

The main issues that brought Obasanjo to Banjul were the inter-party dialogue that must take place prior to elections and the freeing of Ousainou Darboe and all political prisoners and that includes Amadou Sanneh and all those arrested on April 14th and 16th of this year.   The main reason why the visit took place.  Because the opposition is too busy engaging it's meager resources (and that includes human/intellectual resources) in personal attacks and trivia that it paid no attention to the visit.

By contrast, Jammeh ensured that the visit was all about himself and his agenda - a political process he's dominated from the start without any serious challenge from an opposition that preoccupies itself with frivolity and petty squabbles.  Consequently, follow-ups on important matters such as the recent ECOWAS Communique insisting on political dialogue between the opposition and the regime of Jammeh and the preparation of a Road Map by the IEC seem to be of less priority.

It is unclear whether any of these urgent matters have been taken up at last Thursday's Inter-Party Committee meeting at the offices of the IEC.  If official and semi-official reports are anything to go by, the opposition did not meet with Obasanjo which is another missed opportunity, coming at a time when they could least afford it, so close to the scheduled December presidential elections.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) : The new kid on the block

GDC Leadership 
A great deal has already been said about Gambia's newest political party, the Gambia Democratic Congress and its leader, Mama Kandeh, since busting into the scene with such force and so little notice that it has left many wondering what has hit them.

The reactions range from wonderment at the organizational skills on display by virtue of the huge crowds GDC attracted, to the audible skepticism dominated by questions about who is really behind Mama Kandeh and the GDC.  There's merit to the concerns which must be addressed by the party leadership and debated intelligently and maturely with facts and not insinuations that are without basis in fact.

The crowd sizes were huge by any measure throughout the tour, including Sibanorr (at the heart of the Fonis) and made up of mixture of supporters, prospective supporters and the ever reliable curiosity seekers.  GDC would, of course, like you to believe that most, if not all, of those in the crowd were supporters because the notion advances its political agenda that makes good propaganda sense.  The large crowds will also give Jammeh sleepless nights as he watches his support slips through his nibble fingers.

Whatever the reason GDC ascribes to the large crowds, the scenes were impressive enough to jolt the APRC and other opposition party supporters into action by taking to the Standard newspaper, the online airwaves and Facebook to denounce Mama Kandeh and GDC - some of the denunciations were without basis.  That Jammeh is the sponsor of GDC is still unsubstantiated and neither is the accusation that it is tribal.  Because Jammeh heads the APRC does not necessarily make it a Jola party or the UDP a Mandinka party because Ousainou Darboe is a Mandinka.

The closest the critics have come to making a valid point is in questioning the timing of the launching of the party that has come in the midst of a debate as to whether the opposition should go to elections without electoral reforms among other contentious issues being addressed.  In the ECOWAS Communique following the June 4th 2016 Dakar Summit, the fact that the Authority encouraged the regime of Yaya Jammeh and the National Assembly "to initiate the requisite reforms for the conduct of inclusive, free and credible elections" and "called for the...government and the opposition to engage in a frank dialogue..,and encouraged the IEC to prepare a Road Map for approval by all the stakeholders of the electoral process."  Former President Obasanjo of Nigeria was certainly not in Banjul for leisure.  Electoral reform is serious business and thus must be taken seriously.

It is our view that these and related issues are better handled at the Inter-Party Committee (IPC) level or alternatively at an Intra-Opposition Party Committee level where the GDC will have a seat at the table as a co-equal partner to thrash out matters of common interest.  We hope the opposition parties who attended yesterday's IPC meeting at the IEC made a case for the inclusion of the GDC as a member of the IPC which, we learned, ended acrimoniously suggesting the rocky road ahead of any elections.  We encourage gestures of inclusivity and not acrimony as a sign of political maturity that will go towards the consolidation of a fragmented opposition.  Extending a welcoming arm beats throwing rocks at the new kid on the block, every time.            

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Is Gambia's Vice President contemplating resigning?

Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy
Now that Yaya Jammeh has decided not to attend the African Union Summit in Kigali, it turns out that his Vice President who, under normal circumstances, would have been a stand-in for the Gambian dictator, is also unable to attend due to illness, according to reports.

Jammeh's decision not to attend the Kigali Summit may be influenced, in part, by the recent scathing editorial in the New Times of Rwanda criticizing Jammeh's June 3rd Tallinding political rally speech as incitement of violence in which he threatened to kill Mankinkas one by one and referring to them as "enemies and foreigners." You can find the editorial here and our blog on it here.

Mrs. Isatou Njie-Saidy who was appointed Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs in March 1997 is the longest serving cabinet member in the regime of Yaya Jammeh who seized power in July 1994.  Her nearly two decades of service to one of Africa's most brutal, corrupt and controversial dictatorship has taken it's toll on the 64-year old former Executive Director of the Women's Bureau in the government of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.

In addition to her official functions as Vice President and the Minister responsible for Women's Affairs, she has been standing in for the Gambian dictator in many national and international conferences, the frequency of which has increased exponentially as international criticism of the regime's human rights record deepens and his political and diplomatic isolation widens.

The Vice President has had her share of being on the front line during a number of highly controversial and unpopular events in the 22-year history of the dictatorship such as the killing of the fourteen high school students when she famously and falsely claimed that the students were armed. Her attempt at justifying the cold murder of unarmed students who were peacefully protesting against an earlier murder of a fellow student and the raping of another was met with blistering criticism from many Gambians including her traditional source of support - women, particularly mothers like her. It was the start of her decline in popularity as she became increasingly viewed as an apologist for and a defender of a very unpopular and vile regime.

Vice President Njie-Saidy has been under pressure ever since.  It is now being reported that increasing  pressure is being exerted by family members who are urging her to retire from the Vice Presidency which, according to many, is too late in the day when she her reputation is in tatters and no credibility left to speak of.  There are strong hints that she may tender her resignation citing her health as reason to call it a day.   What is unclear is whether Jammeh will accept it.  

The Islamic Republic of The Gambia is a farce

Gambia Christian Council 
The Republic of The Gambia's Constitution of 1997 is very clear and emphatic on the secularity of the Gambian State.  The preamble states in plain and unambiguous language that "The Gambia is a Secular State".  Because the concepts of sovereignty, republicanism and secularity of the State are so central to our national identity, the clause language is "entrenched" which means it cannot be changed or modified without the consent of the People through a referendum.

Consistent with the contemptuous behavior of the Gambian dictator, he sprang a surprise on the Gambian people by issuing an "Executive Order" declaring The Republic of The Gambia an Islamic Republic in absolute contravention of the Constitution he swore to uphold.  Even for an absolute dictator, such a brazenly cavalier stroke of the pen is breathtakingly callous further demonstrating absolute and total contempt for the Gambian people, not only the Christian community.

Father David Jimoh Jarju of the Catholic Church is on record pleading with the Jammeh regime to clarify its intention, following a meeting when the Christian community expressed concern about the status of their religion within the State especially as the government representative at the meeting stated that Jammeh declared the country an Islamic State in order to promote Islam.  In response to Attorney General and Justice Minister, Mama Fatima Singhateh, in her clumsy defense of the decision, the Methodist Bishop pointedly asked "how can you have two children and support one and leave the other?  Are we all children of the State?"

The regime has since been haphazardly implementing some features of the new status without being clear about what the Islamic State is supposed to look like in the absence of a clear policy and a structural design of the Islamic State.  The banning of drumming and signing during the holy month of Ramadan is a perfect example of how unintentionally disruptive the change has become by the conflicting instructions coming from the regime whether the ban extends to traditional church services and private residences.  The incompetence of the regime is much in display here as its lack of clarity and seriousness in such serious a matter as transforming the State from a Secular to an Islamic Republic.

The idea of transforming the Gambia into an Islamic Republic is being driven more by expediency in the face of the dwindling of financial assistance from donors because of Jammeh deplorable human rights record.  As the financial assistance pool dries up, Jammeh is hoping that the Arab and Muslim worlds will fill the void.  The gimmick has failed thus far.  The Muslim Ummah has not stepped up to the plate because they are not convinced that the project is a serious one.  Unfortunately, it is having some undesirable and far-reaching effects on the Christian communities across the country.  It is time to scrap the project which is unconstitutional and, thus, illegal.        

Monday, July 11, 2016

How Zainab is helping destroy the Gambian economy

Yaya Jammeh may be the main culprit but his Morocco-born wife, Zainab Jammeh, is a significant contributor to Gambia's deteriorating economic environment.

Her jet-setting lifestyle is proving to be the bane of Gambia's dwindling foreign reserves because of her insatiable taste for luxury goods and high-end living that rivals the Hollywood starlet.  Her lifestyle requires foreign exchange which is in short supply for a number of years.  But that doesn't deter her from demanding for more from her dictator husband whose confiscatory and illegal demands from the Central Bank Governor for money is causing him sleepless nights.  The practice is so prevalent and getting worse that unconfirmed reports have it that a recent IMF mission demanded a stop to it because it bordered on criminality.

Zainab Jammeh's foreign travels are by private charter out of Dubai.at an average cost of US $ 200,000 per trip according to our sources.  At an average of one trip a month for a minimum of couple of weeks per trip, her hotel bill alone at her favorite hotel suite in McLean, Virginia, a presidential suite can cost the public treasury upward of $ 40,000  - $ 50,000.  In short, a trip by Gambia's First Lady can cost $ 1,000,000 to $ 1,500,000.  Although she and her husband own a $ 3.5 million mansion outside Washington DC, they have abandoned it because of the Gambian protesters they attract anytime they try living in it.

Mrs. Jammeh is not totally oblivious to the fact that the country's dwindling foreign reserves.  She recognizes the difficulty her husband encounters in providing the foreign currency needed that forces him to demand local currency - which will always be in abundant supply as long as there's enough supply of ink and paper - from the Central Bank to be converted in dollars by Trust Bank, a government-controlled commercial bank.  The First Lady's response to the new normal is to establish a number of "Foundations" for child health and cancer for the sole purpose of soliciting foreign money from the Gulf States and other Muslim countries.  She was recently in the Gulf and in Malaysia soliciting funds on behalf of her Foundation most of which, it is believed, in diverted for her personal use.

The reputation of both Yaya and Zainab Jammeh abroad is nothing to write home about and thus will limit their capacity to raise huge sums of money.  It is, therefore, expected that while Mrs. Jammeh's fund raising efforts may pay off in the short run, it may not be sufficient to finance the lifestyle they've come to accustomed to without dipping their hands in the public trough.  It is a sad and unfortunate fact that for as long as Jammeh is in power and the economy continues to contract, The Gambia will ill-afford the expensive the expensive lifestyles of Mr. and Mrs Yaya Jammeh.  It is time that both be retired from public life this year.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dubai's March Petroleum is real and legitimate

The Leading company in Oil and Refined Products Trading in the Middle East based in Dubai. 
Contact Us : (+971) 557-176-667 
info@marchpetroleum.com












During his Koriteh speech to a collection of Banjul Elders, Mullahs and members of cabinet, Yaya Jammeh went at length to justify his decision to accuse a total of thirty-seven senior government officials, ten of whom have been accused of "economic crimes" resulting from the procurement of petroleum and petroleum products from a Dubai-based company named March Petroleum.

In his long and winding speech, the Gambian dictator contradicted himself on numerous times and on occasions has actually incriminated himself by admitting that he had given the green light to his former Minister of Petroleum and the Board of Directors of the Gambia National Petroleum Company Ltd. (GNPC Co. Ltd) to proceed with the procurement contract with March Petroleum of Dubai.

It must be noted that GNPC Co. Ltd. became Gambia National Petroleum Corporation in 2015 when the petroleum sector was "nationalized".  For the transformation of GNPC Co. Ltd., see the series of blogs here, here, here and here.

Jammeh claimed that March Petroleum was a shell, bogus company because "he couldn't find it anywhere in the internet."  He tried googling it and searched YouTube without success which led him to the conclusion that the company did not exist.  It didn't take someone who commented on my Facebook page that it didn't take him "3 seconds" to locate March Petroleum on the internet the link you can find here.

March Petroleum is a real and legitimate company by all measures.  It is registered in Dubai, UAE with a website, contact telephone numbers and an email address. We have, therefore, written to the company to inform the management of Yaya Jammeh's claim that he was unable to locate the company website which led him to falsely claim that March Petroleum is a bogus company that exists only in the imagination of his former Petroleum minister and senior Gambian officials.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The corruption buck stops at Jammeh's desk

                                                                                                                 
When Lt. Yaya Jammeh seized power on the 22nd July 1994, one of the first acts of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) he chaired was to dismantle the centralized procurement system they found in place - a system that provided the necessary transparency needed to trace and fix any procurement malpractice.

Before it was scrapped and its functions subsumed as part of Jammeh's extraordinary powers, the Major Tender Board (MTB) was housed in the Ministry of Finance and chaired by its Permanent Secretary was responsible for overseeing all procurement of goods and services.

It was not until in December 2014 when the then Minister of Finance disclosed his Budget Speech that the MTB was being re-established effective 1st January 2015.  According to the minister, the policy measure was aimed at achieving "greater efficiency and transparency in public procurement"- an admission that dismantling the MTB was not the right thing to do.  This is after almost 20 years of abolishing it without proper notice to the general public about what their government was up to.

And even after officially announcing its re-establishment, the MTB exits in name only.  It is public knowledge that all major procurement decisions are still taken by and at the instructions of Yaya Jammeh.  Even in cases where donor funds are involved that demand the adoption of international tender procedures, Jammeh tries to influence the outcome leading, at times, to delays when procurement rules and regulations are infringed.    

In the last couple of weeks, numerous civil servants ranging from Permanent Secretaries to drivers across the entire civil service structure have been arrested and accused of committing "economic crimes", presumably of varying degree and magnitude.  And as it is routine with this regime, Gambians are arrested first and then investigated.  In Yaya Jammeh's Gambia one is guilty until one can prove one's innocence which has always proven impossible because his judiciary and his courts, in particular, are packed with mercenary judges-for-hire imported from Nigeria.

According to Jammeh, the former and current senior officials of the Petroleum Ministry contracted the services of a bogus Dubai-based company to supply petroleum product to the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation which ended up costing government $ 12 million.  How he arrived at that figure is unclear.  What is certain is that internationally recognized rules and procedures were not applied in this case.  If they were applied, it would not have been possible to engage the services of a bogus company, assuming that this is what has happened.  Due diligence on all prospective bidders would have been conducted, including the solicitation of capability statements and company profiles as part of the pre-qualification process.

Just as in the case of Lebanese businessman, Youssef Ezzedine, commonly known by his alias "Rambo" who reportedly paid several millions of dollars for his freedom after being found guilty of treason and sentence to death together with General Lang Tombong Tamba and other Gambians, Jammeh is expecting similar arrangement for the release of some of the ten officials accused of "economic crimes" in the petroleum cases.  Those who can pay a hefty ransom will be set free.  The rest who cannot afford it will be sentenced to long prison terms.  This is just how things are in Jammeh's Gambia.

Concerning the twenty-seven civil servants accused of attempting to fraudulently auctioned off 545 government vehicles [a figure that is most probably exaggerated]  for D 4.5 million also points to a broken procurement system that Jammeh and his group of army buddies caused when they seized power.  Again, according to him, these vehicles were never pre-inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to the intended auction to ascertain the condition of each car, some of which, Jammeh claimed, were new.

In the absence of a transparent tender procedure, one must expect these problems to arise.  Since Jammeh is responsible for dismantling the Major Tender Board back in 1994, he must be held responsible for the procurement malpractices that he is accusing the officials of.  If he is accusing a former Petroleum Minister of corruption, he should, at least, take responsibility for the broken system that has led to the rampant corruption that has become a hallmark of his government because he has held numerous ministerial portfolios, including petroleum minister.  We know he will not because he's never taken responsibility for anything that has gone wrong in The Gambia which is just about everything.   #JammehMustGo          

Friday, July 8, 2016

It is time Gambians turn their backs on Jammeh

Yaya Jammeh 
Gambians have suffered in the hands of Yaya Jammeh for 22 years.  When he seized power, he promised to eliminate corruption he's accused the previous government of.  Instead, corruption is rampant as it is endemic.  And the situation is getting worse as the regime continues to lose control of the situation as it is losing support of the Gambian people.

This is a regime that has demonstrated beyond doubt that it has lost the ability and the will to govern.  As a result, it has resorted to the most bizarre form of governance that relies on cult-like groups of supporters who are easily manipulated by Jammeh for the purpose of remaining in power.

To govern effectively, one needs a long term development plan with clear sets of measurable goals and objectives or deliverables which has been lacking in the 22-year history of the Jammeh regime. The numerous Visions - Vision 2020, Vision 2015, Vision 2016 - that Jammeh has unveiled should never be mistaken for a rational and achievable development plans because they lack the characteristics that make them one.  They are nothing more than propaganda tools that gives the false impression to an unsuspecting population that the regime is addressing their development needs.

The proof is in the figures.  There is more rural poverty today than 22 years ago.  The Gambia is the only country in the 16-nation ECOWAS that has experienced a negative growth rate in the previous three to four years and it has the 16th position out of the 16 Member States from Gambia's 3rd position in 1992.  One third of the entire population is food insecure which means that 600,000 Gambians cannot afford three meals a day who are still living in less than $ 1 a day.  The Jammeh regime is long on political rhetoric and propaganda and short on performance.

It is time for Gambians to wake up from their slumber.  Jammeh has failed Gambians and so has his entire regime that seems to succeed only in constructing a formidable torture infrastructure to suppress a people that were brought up in a democratic environment prior to July 1994.  Jammeh and his team of incompetent sycophantic politicians and bureaucrats have demonstrated, amply, over time, of their inability to deliver the goods to the Gambian people which should not come as a surprise because the soldiers who seized power came to enrich themselves and not to enrich the lives of two million Gambians.  Jammeh and a few of his partners have enriched themselves at the expense of every one else.  It is time for Gambians to turn their backs on this brutal, incompetent and corrupt regime.   #JammehMustGo          

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Letter to the Editor of The New Times of Rwanda about the incitement of violence against Mandinka

Dear Editor,                                                                                      

Re: The Mandinkas and Jammeh

As Rwanda prepares to welcome the Heads of State of the African Union to their Summit in Kigali from the 10 - 18 July 2016 and the possible impending visit of Yaya Jammeh of the Gambia to your beautiful country for the Summit, I am obliged or feel the need to refer to your June 12th 2016 editorial entitled "The Mandinka of Gambia must be protected" in which your paper succinctly and soberly reminded African leaders and Jammeh, in particular, of the painful experience of your country and the need for the world to draw lessons.

The editorial was prompted by a public utterance of Yaya Jammeh at a political rally when he chastised members of the Mandinka ethnic group he accused as his "enemies" and by extension, regarded as enemies of the state.   By referring to Mandinkas as "enemies", your editorial warned that Jammeh "is paving the way for impunity and the world must be worried."  The Mandinka ethnic group, the largest in the Gambia represents over 40% of the total population, was blamed for being the prime opponents of Jammeh's ruling party and, by implication, the source of his political troubles before the Gambian leader proceeded to threaten them.  He promised to "kill them one by one" and will "put them where even a fly cannot see them."

His statements did not only attract the attention of your paper when you editorialized that the ghost of ethnic hatred has apparently not be expunged from the face of Africa but it attracted the attention of Mr. Adama Dieng, the current United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, as well.  Mr. Dieng, like your paper, was "profoundly alarmed by ...Jammeh's stigmatization, dehumanization and threats against the Mandinka" and reminded the Gambian leader that in 2005, all Heads of State and Government, including Jammeh, acknowledge the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity , as well as incitement.  Mr. Dieng urged the Gambian leader to fulfill this responsibility.  Your editorial of June 12th made a similar suggestion to the Gambian leader.

It is still unclear whether Mr. Jammeh will be making the trip to Kigali.  At the time of going to press, the file is still on his desk waiting for a decision as to whether to travel to Kigali or not.  Should he decide to take part in this year's AU Summit or in any future trip to Kigali, a sensitization tour of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center would be a great idea.  Jammeh needs it because he's completely oblivious of the consequences of incitement of ethnic violence or hate speech especially when it is coming from someone who occupies the highest office in the country.   Jammeh is a very divisive character who frequently employs and exploits incitement for the purposes of advancing his own political ambitions and thus needs to be sensitized about the risks involved in such endeavors.  

Letter to the Editor of The New Times of Rwanda about the incitement of violence against Mandinka

Dear Editor,

Re: The Mandinkas and Jammeh

As Rwanda prepares to welcome the Heads of State of the African Union to their Summit in Kigali from the 10 - 18 July 2016 and the possible impending visit of Yaya Jammeh of the Gambia to your beautiful country for the Summit, I am obliged or feel the need to refer to your June 12th 2016 editorial entitled "The Mandinka of Gambia must be protected" in which your paper succinctly and soberly reminded African leaders and Jammeh, in particular, of the painful experience of your country and the need for the world to draw lessons.

The editorial was prompted by a public utterance of Yaya Jammeh at a political rally when he chastised members of the Mandinka ethnic group he accused as his "enemies" and by extension, regarded as enemies of the state.   By referring to Mandinkas as "enemies", your editorial warned that Jammeh "is paving the way for impunity and the world must be worried."  The Mandinka ethnic group, the largest in the Gambia represents over 40% of the total population, was blamed for being the prime opponents of Jammeh's ruling party and, by implication, the source of his political troubles before the Gambian leader proceeded to threaten them.  He promised to "kill them one by one" and will "put them where even a fly cannot see them."

His statements did not only attract the attention of your paper when you editorialized that the ghost of ethnic hatred has apparently not be expunged from the face of Africa but it attracted the attention of Mr. Adama Dieng, the current United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, as well.  Mr. Dieng, like your paper, was "profoundly alarmed by ...Jammeh's stigmatization, dehumanization and threats against the Mandinka" and reminded the Gambian leader that in 2005, all Heads of State and Government, including Jammeh, acknowledge the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity , as well as incitement.  Mr. Dieng urged the Gambian leader to fulfill this responsibility.  Your editorial of June 12th made a similar suggestion to the Gambian leader.

It is still unclear whether Mr. Jammeh will be making the trip to Kigali.  At the time of going to press, the file is still on his desk waiting for a decision as to whether to travel to Kigali or not.  Should he decide to take part in this year's AU Summit or in any future trip to Kigali, a sensitization tour of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center would be a great idea.  Jammeh needs it because he's completely oblivious of the consequences of incitement of ethnic violence or hate speech especially when it is coming from someone who occupies the highest office in the country.   Jammeh is a very divisive who frequently employs and exploits incitement for the purposes of advancing his own political ambitions and thus needs to be sensitized about the risks involved in such endeavors.    

Yaya Jammeh is the problem and not civil servants

Yaya Jammeh is the problem
Last week, it was ten former and present senior officials of the Petroleum and Energy Ministries, including and a Board member and businessman, who were arrested for what Yaya Jammeh, the Gambian dictator, described as "one of the biggest economic crimes" ever uncovered in his 22-year failed regime.

This week, it is the turn of twenty-seven senior civil servants, nine of whom are Permanent Secretaries in key and important Ministries, at a time when nothing in Jammeh's government is working.  The economy has tanked, the educational standards have plummeted, agricultural production continues to be in decline while a 600,000 Gambians representing a third of the population is food insecure, which means 33% of Gambians cannot afford three square meals a day.

The ten petroleum ministry officials are still languishing in the remand wing of the notorious Mile II prisons on charges that are yet to be specified by a regime that has obviously lost its way and is increasingly using every tactic in the book to deflect criticism away from an increasingly corrupt regime that is submerged in a pool of incompetence.

The Petroleum Ministry is under the direct supervision of the Office of The President and so is the Energy Ministry.  And as the Micro-Manager -in-Chief, Jammeh is known to run a tight ship who uses surrogates deeply embedded in each revenue-generating centers whose primary role is to report to him on matters that he's interested in.  In many cases, it is about money which Jammeh has become addicted to in his 22-years of dictatorship.

The latest batch of civil servants were rounded up in a dragnet conducted on the eve of Koriteh (Eid-il-Fitr) signaling the end of the holiest of months in the Muslim calendar, leaving their husbands and wives and children without a key member of the family in such an important day which speaks volumes of Jammeh who claims to be a devout Muslim and appends the title of Nasirudeen to his name.

Preliminary indications are that these officials are being accused of auctioning off government vehicles inappropriately in addition to being unable to account for others.  At best, these accusations emanating from Yaya Jammeh are designed  to distract Gambians from the real problems we have alluded to earlier. The economy's lack of performance is a direct result of Jammeh's persistent meddling in its day-to-day management.

The rules and procedures government procurement were thrown out the window when Jammeh seized power in July 1994.  The Major Tender Board, the main procurement body which was centralized in the Ministry of  Finance and Trade was immediately scrapped by the then Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) which Jammeh served as Chairman.  Jammeh became the sole authority responsible for the procurement of goods and services on behalf of government, a highly inappropriate and unethical move.

Jammeh personally handles procurement of big ticket items from 1994 to date and he decides who wins a contract.  To accuse others and pretend not to know anything about it is ludicrous and dishonest.  Jammeh was aware from the unset that most of government assets - particularly vehicles and tractors - end up being driven across the borders into Senegal and Guinea Bissau where they are sold by Jammeh's own soldiers, APRC party militants or Jammeh's own family members.  The twenty-seven civil servants should all be freed so that they can go back and be with their families.  The problem is not them.  The problem is you.  #JammehMustGo

Monday, July 4, 2016

State-sponsored corruption at the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation - Part IV

Mohammed Bazzi
The decision to supply NAWEC a stock of petroleum products valued at $ 24.2 million that belonged to Total International was taken by the private investors who had controlling shares and occupied senior management positions at Gam-Petroleum Storage Facility Company.

The decision to knowingly supply fuel belonging to Total International was taken by Mohammed Bazzi, Fadi Mazeggi and Amadou Samba according to official records. This conclusion was reached by Ministries of Finance and Energy, Central Bank officials, Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation and Gambia Ports Authority officials who attended the meeting.  Conspicuously absent from the meeting was a representative of the Office of President - the office that supervises both the Energy and Petroleum Ministries.

The exact figure of the value of the Total International stock was said to be US $ 24,188,951.05 which, according to official records is "part of NAWEC's total liability to Euro Africa Group, estimated at $ 64,000,000."  Since the $ 64 million is an estimate, it should treat it as such until a final definitive figure is available.

By invoking the collateral clause of the storage agreement between Gam Petroleum Storage Company and Total International, the regime of Yaya Jammeh was forced to either pay up the $ 24.2 million or forfeit the storage facility that cost US$ 50 million to build.  (How the project was financed becomes a central issue which we will be examining in subsequent blogs.)

To avoid the unthinkable alternative of forfeiture, the regime f Yaya Jammeh decided to "nationalize" the Mandinari Storage facility by "buying out" Bazzi, Mazeggi and Samba.  NAWEC's balance sheet needs to be sanitized by engaging its creditors to restructure its debt which has ballooned to D 4.585 billion.  As a primary consumer of petroleum, it makes sense to restructure not only NAWEC's debt but its organizational and managerial structure which the World Bank had been recommending for quite sometime.

The buy-out of the private investors was made possible only when Bazzi, Mazeggi and Samba agreed that their proceeds from the transaction will go into settling the $ 24.2. million with Total International.  Their shares were subsequently distributed among government agencies as follows :- SSHFC (30%), GPA (30%), GNPC (30%) and Ministry of Finance (10%).

It is important to note, for future reference, that the individual shares were valued at €350,000 per share, a figure based on valuation made in 2009 when the three private investors purchased their shares.

The restructuring plan, including the new share structure, was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of the Gam Petroleum Fuel Storage chaired by Amadou Samba, Fadi Mazeggi, private investor and attended by Mr.   Badgie, Managing Director, GNPC, Mr. Edward Graham, Managing Director, SSHFC, Mr. Alhagie Cherno Ceesay representing GPA, Ms. Farage, Secretary to the Board, Mr. Edirissa Mass Jobe, Board Member.

In an unusual move by Yaya Jammeh, he announced that his regime has uncovered "one of the biggest economic crimes" in the 22-year history of the Second Republic before proceeding to direct his security agents to round up ten former and current senior officials in the Petroleum Ministry including Sira Wally Ndow Njie, a former Minister of Petroleum and Edrissa Mass Jobe a businessman who is close business associate of the Gambian dictator and someone who brought Elton petrol stations to The Gambia.  Mr. Jobe is also a Board member of the GNPC that is at the center of the current scandal.

It was reported last week that the lawyers of both Mr. Jobe and Mrs. Sira Wally Ndow Njie had filed bail application for their release from remand at Mile II prisons.  However, we have now learned that for some unexplained reason or reasons, the applications have been withdrawn by their attorneys. Unconfirmed reports have it that a deal is being worked out for their release from jail.  Whether the accused will be exonerated and their cases dismissed is unclear.  Watch this space.

----------------------------------------------------------------
POSTSCRIPT: This is the final installment of a four-part series on how the state is central and a facilitator to the Gam-Patroleum corruption scandal that Jammeh described as one of the biggest economic crime ever committed under his watch.  Jammeh cannot be totally oblivious of all of the stench that has been swirling over his head for all these years.

Subsequent blogs will be treating other components of the sandal individually.  For example the capitalization of the initial project investment of $ 50 million and whether Gambia's sovereign guarantee was issued by the Central Bank.

Related issues such as the transfer of ownership of the Brikama Power Station from Mohammed Bazzi who has been operating it for five years as BOT project to NAWEC has been updated here when the then Minister of Finance, Kebba Touray, paid "on behalf of NAWEC" over $ 30 million will be closely examined.  We can now say the money went to Bazzi. How it was distributed to "investors" is anyone's guess.

State-sponsored corruption at the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation - Part III

Yaya Jammeh, Head of the cartel 
The one-of-a-kind 51,000 metric-ton petroleum storage facility built in 2008 at a cost of $ 50 million and located at Mandinari village was jointly owned by a consortium of public enterprise and private individual investors until it was 'nationalized' last year.

Social Security and Housing Finance (31%), Gambia Ports Authority (10%) and Gambia National Petroleum Company Ltd (7%) represent government share in the venture that totals 48%.

The private investors led by the Lebanese-Syrian, Mohammed Bazzi (30.8%) comprise of another Lebanese, Fadi Mezaggi (10.3%), a Gambian, Amadou Samba (9.9%) and Premier Investment Group (1%) which is jointly owned by Mr. Bazzi and Fadi Mezaggi.  How the 1 per cent is shared among the two is unknown.  The two, however, control 42.1% of the facility and with Amadou Samba's 9.9%, the private investors control the facility with 52% an with it the management and operations of the facility.

The Gam-Petroleum Storage Facility Company, as the company is officially known, had two other strategic entities who do not own shares in the company but are critical to the viability of the venture.

The two non-shareholding strategic partners were Total International and the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) - the former serving as the international procurement arm and the latter as the single biggest consumer of heavy and light fuel oil and other petroleum products.

Total International is a French multinational energy company that enjoyed the exclusive right to procure petroleum and petroleum products on behalf of Gam-Petroleum Company and also for its own retailing purposes.  NAWEC on the other hand is a public enterprise whose current liabilities as at 31st October 2014 stood at nearly D 5 billion, D 3 billion of which was outstanding heavy fuel bills owed to supplier.
A separate storage agreement was entered into between Gam-Petroleum and Total International, the details of which are not known in full.  According to official documents government - at least, one or more key ministries - was unaware that the storage facility was used as collateral with obviously the full knowledge and approval of the majority shareholders and Total International.

The fact that the storage facility was used as a collateral without the knowledge of a certain segment of the government, came to light when another surprise was sprung on a regime that is either incompetent or corrupt or both.  It was discovered that the private investors i.e. Messrs. Bazzi, Megazzi and Samba had supplied stock belonging to Total International to NAWEC without the knowledge of the owner.

The discovery was by Total International when it went to access its stock and it was empty who immediately invoked the collateral clause by demanding full and immediate payment of US $ 24.2 million, barring which investors will forfeit the facility.  Under the agreement Total International will take possession and the subsequent selling of the facility, depriving all shareholders, including government of ownership.

During the negotiations, it was revealed that the US$ 24.2 million owed to Total International is inclusive of the US $ 64 million Mohammed Bazzi claimed NAWEC owed to the Euro Africa Group, a company owned by the same Mohammed Bazzi.
________________________________

Part IV will look at the events following Total International's decision to invoke the collateral clause, matters relating to NAWEC debt settlement proposal and its implications on the future of the national electricity company.        

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Jammeh surrogates deny he incited violence against Mandinkas despite audio evidence


Yaya Jammeh as a Futampaf 'ceremony' 
Surprised by the intensity of the reactions of not only the international community but Gambians generally, Jammeh dispatched surrogates and apologists to quietly fan the country with assurances that his Tallinding political rally speech was misinterpreted, and that he didn't say what he's being accused of saying.

He hopes that by denying that he said Mandinkas are foreigners in their own country and that he will kill them one by one should they continue to oppose his rule, some of his Mandinka supporters who reportedly are abandoning his ruling APRC party in droves will return to the fold.

In the capital city of Banjul where there Jammeh enjoys a significant support, he has been distributing rice - a bag per compound - across the city with an accompanying megaphone-wielding propagandist in a pick-up truck assuring residents that Jammeh was being deliberately misquoted by his enemies.

Jammeh and some of his supporters are denying his June 6th speech that was recorded and played numerous times on the online radios operated by Gambian dissidents living abroad.  Others who cannot deny that Jammeh indeed uttered those words have decided to remain moot than to lie in the presence of audio evidence.  

The speech was characterized as "vitriolic, extremely dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric" unbecoming from a head of state by Mr. Adama Dieng who is the United Nations Secretary General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.  The speech was considered to be incitement of violence against an entire ethnic group and as a result, Jammeh was condemned publicly by the U.N. adviser for stigmatizing and dehumanizing the Mandinka ethnic group.

Jammeh's tirade against the Mandinkas was vile and vitriolic enough to have attracted a Rwandan newspaper to editorialize on the subject of the dangers of such hate speeches pose that could lead to the genocide experienced by Rwanda.    

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Jammeh's plane develops mechanical trouble midair


Jammeh's Russian-made Ilyushin aircraft developed mechanical trouble midair while on a test run, according to our sources in Banjul.

The aging aircraft had just returned from routine maintenance in France a couple of weeks ago and was being prepared to take the dictator's jet-setting wife on a trip to Mecca when the plane's air conditioning system gave way.

The mechanical fault caused panic in the cabin because the pilot's "nearly suffocated" according to the source who said that the "pilot and co-pilot were lucky that they were not far into the flight, otherwise they would have died."

Jammeh had to lease an aircraft from Dubai which arrived yesterday to take the dictator's jet-setting wife Zainab Jammeh to Mecca at Gambian tax payer's expense.  The ill-fated flight was to have transported Zainab that same day.  As a result of the mechanical trouble, her trip was delayed until yesterday.  

Reports have been reaching us for several weeks now that the aircraft has been shuttling between Banjul and Addis Ababa laden with Ethiopian prostitutes to entertain the Gambian dictator in his home village of Kanilai.  The Gambian Embassy in Addis Ababa has been very busy lately in recruiting these comfort women for the new craze that has engulf the passion of the Gambian dictator.