Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jammeh’s thousand and one paradoxes

Even as I pondered over President Yahya Jammeh’s recent UN General Assembly address, trying to make sense out of the pack of ironies that characterised his message to world leaders, I couldn’t help wondering the implications his presence alone at the assembly would have on the very important issues been discussed therein. The rule of law…universal justice…fair play…etc, etc, are certainly very pertinent issues, but unfortunately President Jammeh is not the right person to deliberate on these. He is on record more than one occasion, renouncing these tenets. Besides, how can you preach in another man’s house when your own is in disarray?

Consequently, the only thing Yahya Jammeh succeeded in doing by taking part in the UN general assembly meeting was making laughing stock out of Gambians, whose sweat made it possible for him and his delegation of praise singers to attend a meeting that is meant for leaders of respectable characters and values. I have the feeling that Jammeh was only seeking cheap popular in imitation of his newly found friend, a man he briefly fell out with as a result of his arrogance, Colonel Qhadafi, and the master theatrical moron of Latin America, Chavez. But the Gambian leader failed woefully simply because he failed to realize that the only thing those common comedians of leaders have succeeded in doing was to make their people subjects of ridicule. Yahya Jammeh should take a little bit of time to think over Qhadafi’s latest U-Turn…after years of misery in the cold. You can not feed the hand that feeds you!

As usual, I received tones of mails from friends of mine from other countries… ‘‘Your moronic president is at it once again’’, one of the provocative mails reads, just minutes after Jammeh’s address, which I watch live through the internet.

While I can distance myself from Jammeh’s statements, I can not deny that Jammeh is the head of state of the Gambia, which is my home country. True as that may be, how can I contest such insults when, I myself, am a typified victim of the woes caused by my head of state? I will never even give it a try.

One thing Yahya Jammeh failed to realized is that there are a lot of lessons he can learn from the many democratic leaders he addressed at the UN with such verve of typical arrogance. The very opportunity he continues to deny the Gambian people (the people he derisively refer to as my people) is what he enjoys by going ballistic on the free world, whenever he is given the chance. But where is that taking us to, as a nation of civilized people?

I want to make this clear – the only reason why Jammeh continues to have the little support he enjoys among some section of Gambian population is that he has succeeded in portraying himself as the freedom fighter he has never been against a negligent West. This he tries to highlight in all his speeches. But what these Gambians who support him on these fail to realize is that the man is just playing double standard, the same crime he accuses the West of in the case of China-Taiwan standoff, Israel-Palestine crisis, Cuba and the US relations and the US-Venezuela relations. The man is hypocrite! Simple! Even though he pretends not to want to have anything to do with the West, he and his wife prefer to have their children delivered only in Western hospitals, not the supposedly good hospitals he has built as part of the achievements of the almighty July 22nd Revolution. Despite the fact that many Gambians wallow in destitution, First Lady Zainab Jammeh can shop only in world class shopping centers in the very West her Pan-Africanist husband condemns as home of the imperialists.

Plans to have Jammeh tried

Plans of having President Jammeh to answer for his alleged crimes are indeed reassuring. At least, it will give him the chance to defend himself, a luxury he has denied thousands of Gambians and non Gambians. It remains the task of all of us, Gambians, to sit back and take serious look at the deteriorating situation in our country. One thing we can do, for example, is to renounce the insolent move by the apathetic Gambia government to amend the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, an institution this very same arrogant government refused to obey.

Contrary to what some of us are made to believe, the government represents only the interest of Yahya Jammeh and his wife and children, not even the interest of the people around him who support him in executing his crimes against the rest of the Gambian population. If the justice department of the Gambia were genuinely concerned and representative of the citizens, they would not have approved of this demand to have the Ecowas Commission look at this case, because I know it is the idea of Yahya Jammeh, and it is nobody else’, to forward such a derisive demand. But has only accentuated his short sightedness, as far as I am concerned.

I have a few questions for the committee of Ecowas Commission that is hearing the demand:

Ø What else would the government of the Gambia of all people argue for that the Ecowas Court should only have jurisdiction in respect of international instruments ratified by the respondent country if it is not to attain specific hidden motives of the self style grand master of the country?

Ø Is it not a shame that the Gambia government suggests that in human rights cases, the ECOWAS Court's jurisdiction should be made subject to the exhaustion of domestic remedies? How many cases have been exhausted with genuine remedies? What would encourage aggrieved Gambians to go through the pains of seeking justice from international bodies if they can achieve their goals locally?

Ø Is the Gambia government’s suggestion that cases should only be admissible if instituted not later than 12 months after the exhaustion of local remedies not a way of prolonging pains in the many aggrieved citizens who may want to seek rapid justice?

Ø (d) Why would the Gambia government be concerned about anonymous cases? Do they want to look for ways of terrorizing and intimidating family members of aggrieved persons?

There has been so much atrocities committed that makes all of Jammeh’s threats far more than mere threats. But mark my words; we are all answerable to one God, Allah. Someday, we shall all answer for our deeds, right or wrong. May God have mercy on us all!

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