Just as the news that the National Assembly and the Members of Parliament in The Gambia have voted down the draft constitution. This because one cause or one article would state that a President can only have two terms or 10 years in office. That was clearly not feasible for the current Head of State Adama Barrow.
Barrow, a man who was elected in 2017 and the man who took over power after dictator Yahya Jammeh who are living in exile. That happen after the ECOWAS and Senegal intervened. Barrow was even sworn-in Senegal and transported in by armed forces of Senegal to Gambia. That was a sign of international support of his candidacy and voice for change.
Alas, now he seems to following the footsteps of previous leaders in Gambia. Where they are willing to cling onto power. Until their demise is sealed and the arms have turned against them. Instead of leaving a memory of peace and of development. Instead, remember the looting, the corruption and the impunity in office. This from a President who has tried to clean up bureaucracy, have a commission into the previous administration and getting back stolen assets to the Republic.
Still, that man doesn’t want to be any different. There was supposed to only be an transition period onto January 2020. A period and a term, which Barrow already have served. He intends to hold elections in 2021. Meaning, that he gets a full term. While doing so, he intends to make that one “invalid” or “not count”.
That is just the late Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza did as well. While he did the deal after serving two terms. Deeming the first term not counting, as it was an “election” from Parliament and not from the public. The Constitutional Court made a verdict, which accepted this argument and that was the legal justification for Nkurunziza to have his third term in 2015.
Alas, Barrow is trying something similar. Using the transitional period and claiming it as non-starter. It wasn’t “official”. Even after he won and the coalition gave him power. This will be an insult to the contested elections of late 2016 and the intervention to get him in office in early 2017.
Still, this shows the greed of Barrow to be in power. As he intends to “erase” the first years in power. Therefore, ensure longevity and secure a prolonged stay in office. While, this man shouldn’t do that and become the same as his predecessor. Being a man who promised first three years, than a second term and then a third term. Because, if he does so… he is just lingering in office like Jammeh did. Maybe, not as brutal and despicable as his reign, but still a man who didn’t leave in peace.
Also, worrying that he doesn’t want to count the years he has already served. That proves that he has no real intention of leaving. At least, if he intends to make the current term as “invalid” or “not count”.
Even, if the man said this in the start of his reign:
“Gambia has changed forever. The people are fully conscious that they can put government in office as well as remove it. No government will ever be able to entrench itself against the will of the Gambian people. This is the lesson we must draw from the change that has been brought by the people” (Adama Barrow – ‘My Vision for Gambia’ 20.02.2017).
He should know perfectly well, that someone can overstay their welcome and that its the people who decide if your serving them or not. Still, he intends to stay now. That is why he has dismissed the Constitutional Draft and gotten the MPs to vote it down. This is a sign of what to come.
Barrow intends to following the program of the ones overstaying in office. He got no plan to leave or say “bye”. This man will find all the means to stay and never leave. If he was holding his words. He would have left already and secured a successor. Then he would have written himself as a legend of a sort. Someone who had the character to be in the highest office and step-down. That would be epic, but not a possibility.
Barrow have disappointed here. Proving himself to not be that different and let power corrupt himself. He is just another man high on power and wants another fix. Peace.
Yesterday, I dropped two pieces on this. Today it will be continuation and repetition. Since some of the facts remains the same, but it will more flesh to the bone. Because, the piece on the land grabbing of ex-President Yayah Jammeh of Gambia was from the White Paper yesterday. The volume 9 has more detail. Therefore, even if this will be brief and short in one way. Because, all the heists and all the siphoning of monies are grand schemes in itself. Which shows that the President misused his authority and his place in the state to eat and grab funds. That he wasn’t entitle too.
The ex-President with all his various schemes and tricks of his trade, while in office, makes him liable to repay the state back with the amounts of 1,065,012,512.17 GMB, $267,348,358.89, €29,475,269.00, £2,250,000.00 and finally 618,400.00 CFA. All of this monies was taken by the ex-President.
Like for instances the ex-President set up a lot illegal businesses in his time. List consist of Kanilai Family Farms (KFF) Kanilai Group International (KGI), Unique Transport Systems Company Ltd. (UTSCO), Sindola Safari Lodge (Sindola), Mineral Company of the Gambia Ltd, Westwood Gambia Ltd. (Westwood), Westport Logistics, Green Industries, Observer Company, Alhamdulillah Petroleum and Mineral Company (APAM). All of these companies grabbed land, used public accounts to run them and so fourth. They were all illegally set up and some even spent international grants given to The Gambia. This was the way the President operated.
Also, the Ex-President used his charities to siphon funds, he used government grants from Exim Bank (ROC), Japanese Grants, Nigeria Budget Support and others, which was supposed to go to development projects, but instead money went unaccounted for and went missing. He spent it and withdraw cash from the accounts, either himself or with help from loyal associates.
To continue with his illegal enterprises, the ex-President also took funds from State Owned Enterprises, these consisted of Gambia National Petroleum Company (GNPC), Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC), Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), Kanalai Culture Centre (KCC), Youth Development Enterprises Limited (YDE), Gambia Ferry Services Company (GFSC) and GAMTEL/GAMCEL. All of these state owned companies was used, taken monies from and embezzled at one point to the advantage of the President.
As the schemes goes along, the land grabbing needs to addressed. The ex-President took 19 TDA lands from the public. 114 free allocations of public lands in his disposal. That was in total a hundred and 139 land titles, which consist of 10 islands and 26 Wildlife Parks and Reserves.
This shows how he misused his power, taken vast amount of sums. This only what he did and not what his associates and family members did as well. Because, that would be to overwhelming for one small article. Still, this shows what sort of megalomania the ex-President did in his time from 1994 to 2017. As he spent time getting more and more funds, instead of governing.
Yayah Jammeh was busy finding new ways of earning profits, building businesses and taken the state for granted. Embezzling, siphoning and grand theft. This was his heist, a business model that he continued to work-on until his final day in office.
The ex-President wasn’t a bank-robber, but he emptied the accounts and the state machinery blessed him with it. He was the Head of State and no one questioned him. Until now, its two years since he was in office and now his sins is put into system. We see how man took it all and got away with it.
Let’s see if he repays the state, while in exile in Equatorial Guinea. Peace.
There will come one day, when every dictator and tyrants acts comes into steady reports and reveals their actions. Today is one of those days. We are not seeing how the threaten and assaulted freedom, liberty and justice in Gambia. We are instead seeing how the previous head of state misused his power, how he earned money on his time in office and how he opened certain accounts to earn funds.
Here is just a snippet of the Volume 9 of the Janneh Report. What scope I am looking at is just what his directly taken from PUBLIC ACCOUNTS and nothing else. This is the money he took from public accounts and spent on himself. Nothing else. So consider this as one way of thieving.
Which is stating a lot of facts by just saying that. It is showing what he did and to what extent. This is briefly stated to show it. I am only mentioning Jammeh, even if he got help form the rest of his ministers and secretary generals. Therefore, there are plenty more who has to repay the state for their ill gotten gains. But I am just focusing on the head of state, the one in-charge and how he misused public accounts. Just look!
In 1995, the government took out $35m loan from China Exim Bank. At this very moment, the President associated diverted funds and also took out direct cash-deposits. But the state hasn’t repaid on the debt during the tenure of the President. To top it off, $27,732,000 is not accounted for. Therefore, because of interests and need for back-pay, the ex-president is liable for $35,556,442.42.
In 1999, the former President opened up an foundation account at the Trust Bank Limited. Where he was given bribe of $2,555m and illegal authorized payments of $3,013,615.47. Which is both funds the state want have returned.
In 2007, the President diversified and misused profits made by selling shares in the state owned enterprise GAMTEL/GAMCEL. The President took $7,948,025.73 to buy 31 buses to start his own bus-company and other projects he had.
Another in 2007, Taiwan (Embassy of ROC) gave funds for treatment of asthma, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. This was a grant estimated to be used between 2007 and 2011. However, the President diverted the funds, which amounted to $8.3 Million.
In 2011, the former President and his associates stole a public grant from the Kingdom of Qatar in toal €3,999,893, which his now liable for.
In 2012, the former President and his associates opened up an National Security Project Account, which got direct funds from Gambia National Petroleum Company. Where the Ex-President diverted the funds to various projects at the time. This amounted to $1,056,841.77, which he is liable for.
In 2015, the President set up a scheme with the Minister of Petroleum and the withdraw funds from a petroleum account. Which was illegal and therefore them both a liable to the funds of $3,768,448.
Another theft was the Vision 2016 Account, where the source of funds was through the MGI Telecom AG and the International Telecommunications Gateway. Where the President and associates illegal open an account and is now liable for $18,016,434.80.
Total funds which the ex-president is liable for is $84,156,492.64, €4,609,893 and GMD516,925,313.17.
Just think about it, he did to a poor state, with bad service and lack of proper institutions. He was eating of the plate of everyone and taking bribes, taking direct state funds and spending fortunes of the gains done by state owned enterprises. This was all done with the help of ministers and their closest associates, who also got a cut. This was a Grand Heist and Jammeh enjoyed the lavish life on the expense of The Gambia. When I look through more tomorrow. The signs of how he operates will appear. This is just second piece, which really shows a lot already. Peace.
The White Paper of the Janneh Report in Gambia on illegal and illicit activities of the former President Yayah Jammeh is now out. What it reveal is interesting, but not shocking evidence of corruption, misuse of funds or whatnot. That was anticipated. However, the scope of the investigation. Shows what the previous Head of State did while in office. He was busy enriching himself. What I am showing here with brief numbers and such. To give you feeling of what he did, while he was in office.
For instance, the President during his tenure in office registered through his companies, his accounts and by his associates the amount of 131 properties. Also that the he operated the amount of 89 bank accounts in his name, companies and foundations. However, the report proves that during his tenure as President he did acquire 281 properties. One of these properties was in the United States and the other was Morocco. 51 of these properties was bought of the sum of £1,150m.
Also, President Jammeh was also in possession of 29 properties, which was not bought from the state or acquired through an authority, neither bought by purchase. Meaning, he has seized 29 properties in his portfolio.
He also owned and leased several properties in the Tourism Development Area, that was approved by the local authorities, but the state nor local authorities have never received any payment for such leases. To continue with this sort of behaviour, the President also leased islands, forests, lagoons, reserves, parks, which is public land that was approved by the local authorities, but the these local authorities never received any payment for such leases.
The President also acquired community land, where he appeared to own the title of the land, as gratitudes gifts from the communities. This was a direct land grab and misuse of authority from the President to do.
The President was in the process of acquiring 30 more properties. This was land either surveyed for the President himself or his company the Kanilai Family Farm Limited (KFF).
This here is briefly and part of what the President and his closest associates did during his time in the Presidency. But it shows a pattern and also to an extent how he used his power. That he would amass all this land and acquire it, even without proper procedure and such. Therefore, grabbing land on the intent of commercial gains, agricultural output or pure greed.
This is just a beginning into the megalomania of Jammeh. Peace.
After Zimbabwe, people have started to blaze the horns and expecting other dictators to fall. Well, I am humbly saying, I hope so, but don’t expect so. Unless, there are vital changes, unless they lose their support and their weapons behind them. If the support and armies are not behind them, than the Robert Mugabe story can be repeated elsewhere. But it will be different from state to state, from president to president. As each President has built around a stronger or weaker system of orders, strength of institutions and also personal cult around themselves. We also know they are using their myths and their state media to serve their interests.
President’s that I will honor with a mention are Joseph Kabila, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Pierre Nkurunziza, Faure Gnassingbe, Hailemariam Desalegn, Isias Afwerki, Omar Al-Bashir, Idriss Deby, Paul Biya, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasango, Mahamadou Issoufou, Paul Kagame and Ismaïl Omar Guelleh. These are a list of honorable mentions, there several more that could be put on a list, but these was the first to mention, if feel someone is left behind. Please leave that in the comments down below(I know that sounds like a Youtuber, but I had to take inspiration from somewhere).
All of these men in their republics knows that they use power and security organizations to quell, silence and oppress their opposition. They are keeping control of the state reserves and has their party as filled of loyalists and cronies. All of this states are militarized, there is state controlled media and has various of different rules. They are strict and controlling from the state houses and the freedom in these states are limited. The state and business are usually connected with the President and his family. If not there are cronies who also have business and fortunes. So the dictators are for the moment having control and making sure the people is not uprising.
What we can know is that if these dictators take it to far and the fear for the repercussion from the state. So as long as the public and opposition are detained for arbitrary arrests and citizens hurt after demonstrations. While the state reserves and donor funds are eaten by the elite, while the countries are kept poor. As long as the republic’s are poor, than they still need more foreign donors and supply. So it is good for the dictators to keep their nations poor, as the Western and Multi-National Organization can continue to supply them with non-binding funds. That they are free to use on military and one themselves, instead of building institutions and good governance, it is all controlled by the one man on top and his loyal subjects around.
This is well known and for different reasons, these men should always worry about their decisions and their capacity to rule. Nothing last for ever. There will be some who might want to take their place and replace them. Someone will always be opposition and fight for democratic values, but sooner or later they will succeed. It is just a matter of how and how long it takes.
They are all based on strong military control, even minor specialized groups who are like Presidential Guards/Republican Guards or Special Forces. These are controlled usually by either relations or trusted generals, who are loyal not to turn against the President. The Presidents promotes and demotes leaders inside their armies often, the same in the police force/service to compensate and also to make sure the old guard of warrior and soldiers who fought for the President. Will not be seen as a threat or have power to ever topple him. That is why they are trying to distance themselves from the ones who brought them to power, because they will know their inner-tactics; that is why the stalwarts and historicals are more public personas, but not people of power. Even if they did have so in past.
That is done to secure the role and secure the commander-in-chief, even the President always need the historical battles and origin story to keep himself relevant and prove his place. He don’t needs ones who fought with him and his cause. They will just ask for checks- and balances on the promises made in liberation and in the battles against previous oppressors. That is why they are not entangled with these, unless they give them phony medals and grant money, to hopefully silence them.
Still, with all the protocol and strength of the army, they are still vulnerable as they know this too. That why they are calculating and trying to find out the next person who wants their role and their positions. Which is why there are changes in their cabinets, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers. Until they find persons and people they trust to not ambitions to overpower them. Also, they want to stop other MPs and other voices to install hope in the population and to create popularity that is bigger then their personal cult and their teachings.
However, there are ways to bring them down by actually not fearing the state security organizations, waiting for the President to act swiftly without feeling the tensions within his own party. Like President Robert Mugabe did recently. If not actually know you have lost all legitimacy in recent elections, but not willing to step down like Yayha Jammeh. That was ECOWAS and Senegal who intervened on behalf of the newly elected President. Which was the reason for the dictator ending in Exile recently.
Therefore, we have to hope for leaders who have capacity to capture the pulse of the people who are oppressed, of the ones who are marginalized and the ones who are captured by the state. Since the dictatorships doesn’t give up easy, unless there is no escape. History has learned us that and therefore, the lesson needs to be learned. We in our time cannot give in and accept that the liberty, freedom and government are taken by one elite and one ruler.
Certainly, it will not be easy, the fight against oppressors will cost and take time. That is proven time in and time out. The same will happen here, but with their aging and their lack of control. Their trust in family members and trying to create family dynasties. They might fall like Mugabe. Even if some are sons of former presidents. Doesn’t mean they can continue owning the title and running the state. It is proven that is not accepted and that is all within reason. This is what happen in Zimbabwe and we understand if similar events transpire elsewhere.
In the end it is all up to the public for change, the public reactions and their demonstrations, boycotts and their inner works to dismantle the oppressive dictatorship. Often the international community and international counterparts will not intervene as they wants mineral resources and other commodities for cheap; and as long one partner can be bribed, the workers and resources don’t need to paid-in-full or proper. This prospers foreign investments and multi-national companies. This is not well-spoken of, but should be revealed, as it is so often shady dealings with resources sold or land to investors from these dictators. They are funding the state and military, that together with aid are keeping these regimes afloat.
With all this in mind, we have to continue the struggle against these men that are keeping people hostage and taking away freedom and liberty, freedom to assembly and to be activists. They are licensing and authorizing businesses and if people are allowed to have parties and civil society organizations. This are all in different ways, the same with the media and other public ways of sharing information. These are often controlled like all else are in society and in the republic.
We can just wonder if we let this repeat itself, let them continue to oppress and letting these multi-national corporations earn on this forms of government. If we can accept that aid and multi-national organizations keeping budgets and keeping them as leaders, because if these leaders would struggle more economically, more loyalists and more cronies would actually deflect quicker. Also, that if the economy struggle and the security organizations are not paid-off. They could instead of turning their weapons against the public, they could turn against the government/regime. So there are many ways together with public uprising that is needed to topple these dictatorships. Peace.
There are some men of Nobel character out there, but they are usually hidden and in silence. Today, I will have to write of one of them. This has actually happen back-in-January of 2017, but only gotten a whiff of it this week.
The world knows of the democratically elected opposition leader and Presidential Candidate Adama Barrow of the Republic of The Gambia. That in the midst of January 2017 he was sworn-in on the 19th January, as President Yayha Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea. It didn’t look like he would leave, but international pressure and also resignation of his own cabinet members forced this. That ECOWAS sending forces from Senegal into Gambia, also gave the former President no-hope of a longevity of his presidency. Jammeh had a dictatorship for 22 years, even killed his opposition and harassed them.
But this is all well-known facts about the state of affairs in Gambia. That the one winning election and the who had to sworn-in in Senegal and needed Ecowas troops to get rid of the 1994 Coup d’etat General Jammeh who never wanted to leave his post. Even if someone else won over him with a coalition victory years after.
Now today after months in-charge and the dictator disposed. The act that the new president did, shows his character and his real quest to power. It shows that he can actually prove his manhood and bravery. Adama Barrow should never be underestimated. Because he came to Gambia after fleeing on the 26th January after swearing-in on 19th January 2017 in Dakar, Senegal.
So what was so noble and great happen on 30th January 2017, when Gambia Gazette No. 4. on 31st January says this:
“Whereas by Section82(1)(a) of the 1997 of the Republic of The Gambia, the President may exercise his Prerogative of Mercy in respect of any person convicted of any offence” (…) “And Whereas His Excellency the President considers the circumstances of the convicted prisoners named in the schedule, as warranting the exercise of his Prerogative of Mercy” (…) “Now Therefore, I Adama Barrow, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section of 82(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, do hereby grant pardon to the persons named in the schedule hereto” (…) “Done at Banjul this 30th Day of January 2017” (Gambia Gazzette No. 4, 31.01.2017).
This here proves that someone was pardoned by the newly elected President, just days after he was returned and sworn-in. Just starting his rule and his first term in power. The peacefully elected President decided to pardon 39 people. Of these 39 people, one person is a standout, one person who has looted the Republic and been a torn in the flesh of the people. The one they couldn’t stand or be the head of state anymore. The 25th Person who was pardoned by Barrow, was no other than Yahya Jammeh!
Barrow who has nothing to win by doing this, who has nothing to gain, still gave way for Jammeh and even as he is in exile in Equatorial Guinea with his wealth. He still hasn’t have to fear the law or repercussions from law-officials and law-officers of Gambia. Since he is pardoned. He is a free and rich man in exile, that is the gift Barrow gave him, just days in power and as Commander-in-Chief. Barrow had no need to do this. He could have prosecuted him and tried every single way of freezing the accounts and get the tax-funds looted back to Gambia. Instead he pardoned him and let him go. So that Jammeh should have less grievances against the now ruler of Gambia. There shouldn’t be anything personal or anything that creates friction between them.
The one in exile should kiss his pinky-ring. He should watch over his estate and his wealth in joy. The people of Gambia should know what sort of man they have elected. There we’re no need to act this swift and give this pardon. But he did for his reasons. Clearly, the wise man forgives, but never forget. Barrow seems smart, but hopefully will not be conned. He was saved by ECOWAS and the International Pressure on Jammeh. Now he has showed his character and it deserves praise. Not because Jammeh deserved it. He didn’t he should been behind bars and paid-in-full. But Barrow gives way and shows hope of a better future. Since the leadership of this way. Gives hope for a tomorrow. Peace.
Certainly, there have been blowing a wind of dismay towards the International Criminal Court; the reasons are not subtle, but understandable by the men and woman fearing for their future. The ICC has for some reasons been finding lots of criminal activity and leaders misusing their powers to create crimes against humanity on the African continent. While the same ICC has not used their powers and laws on certain other questionable wars and legality behind the support of internal wars elsewhere. Therefore, the totalitarian and the lingering presidents that fear their respect and legacy, as they could be taken to court for their acts while being Presidents!
Well, here is a key piece of knowledge from the briefing written by the International Commission of Jurist (ICJ) that was dropped this March, in the same amount of days that the Republic of South Africa has released their Withdrawal of the Withdrawal from the ICC and the Rome Statute. Therefore, the ICC can be rest assured that the South African republic will not leave now.
ICJ Reasoning for problems with ICC:
“While there are no doubt many serious situations that have so far escaped the Prosecutor’s purview, it is important to note that because the ICC functions within the jurisdictional limits of the Rome Statute, it cannot assume jurisdiction and commence investigations in respect of States that are not parties to the Rome Statute or nationals of such States. As noted above, in such situations, it is up to the Security Council, to decide whether to refer a situation to the Prosecutor, who will then decide whether to prosecute. The powers of the Security Council, including those concerning the use of the veto when referring situations to the ICC for investigation, also require reconsideration and reform. Efforts toward reconsideration and reform could be led by South Africa and other African States” (…) “The ICJ notes that most African States that are parties to the Rome Statute appear to remain committed to the Court. It is significant that the newly installed President of Gambia has decided to withdraw the notice of withdrawal that was issued by his predecessor” (ICJ, P: 8-9, 2017).
Recommendation of the ICJ:
“Honourable Parliamentarians should ensure that:
- The Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act Repeal Bill [B23-2016] should not be passed;
- South Africa should remain a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
- South Africa should engage, where appropriate with other African States, in actively pursuing appropriate reforms within the Assembly of State Parties, with a view to making the ICC more effective in advancing the objectives of international justice.
- South Africa should actively encourage other African states to put in place legislation required to empower domestic courts with the ability to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- South Africa should continue to work constructively with civil society on the advancement of international criminal justice” (ICJ, P: 10, 2017).
Still it is good to see the ICJ support the Republic of South Africa will to stay within the Rome Statute and the ICC. Even as they did have questions towards the African leaders and States, as the ICC has not acted towards the United States or United Kingdom for their ill-will wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So the good news is that the Republic of South Africa still is a member of the ICC, but there is a will to leave there. That will not dwindle away, as the staunch controversy towards the ICC does not go away with a briefing like this or the ways the image of ICC is seen on the continent. That does not leave with the Gambian and South Africa now returning, or not leaving at all. This shows the problems that the leadership has with the court and their legal battles on the continent. That will not be diffused, even as this is good news for those who want to believe in International justice.
Still, there are enough issues that the ICC has to work-on and show less bias in the pursuit of criminal offenders to give the people on the continent faith in their judgement. Peace.
International Commission Jurist (ICJ) – ‘South Africa should not withdraw from the International Criminal Court’ (March 2017)