As the saying goes “desperate times requires desperate measures”. President Jammeh’s illusive and Sham financial and economic strategies for “vision 2020” has gradually being exposed as the flow of funding from close allies tightened during the last few years. Ruling the tiny West African nation on purely domestic borrowing, international loans and donor manipulation, the President appears to be running out of options to continue to fund his ‘white elephant projects’ in his personal name. His economic strategies largely involve building a mini kingdom by engaging in fewer eye catching projects designed to temporary impress foreign donors while he slowly enriches himself through creation of private businesses, foundations and franchises in his own name.
As a result of his lack of coherent economic policies; governing system and sound leadership, the President is left scrambling to form loose diplomatic alliances for economic exploitation and donor manipulation. He first cozy with the Islamic republic of Iran to arm his military before turning to former Libyan dictator Gadhafi to promote his image and position in the name of Pan Africanism and African unity. It did not take too long before he realized that Iran was increasingly being isolated by the West and could no longer provide the kinds of arms supply he envisioned. The illegal arms consignment intercepted at a Nigerian port led to an immediate unceremonious diplomatic breakup with Iran. When Libya too got engulfed by civil unrest and arm struggle against Mohamed Gadhafi, President Jammeh quickly recognized imminent down fall of one of Africa’s ruthless dictators, he broke diplomatic ties with them and temporary seized Libyan own businesses in Gambia. He had secretly benefited from Gadhafi’s divide and conquer heavy handed dictatorship rule which kept him in power for over three decades.
While befriending all these rogue States, President Jammeh was enjoying an unprecedented “Check Book Diplomacy” with the lonely People Republic of China (Taiwan) who uses its cash incentives to win the support of few unruly dictators to become its verbal advocate at the United Nations for recognition. President Jammeh therefore took every opportunity at the UN to call for the admission of Taiwan to the UN as a member state something mighty China vehemently opposes and successfully blocked as a veto power on the UN Council. Taiwan’s unchecked and irresponsible funding of Jammeh’s pet projects and party syndrome continued for over a decade without accountability. This Princely unfettered benefit the Gambian dictator enjoyed from Taiwan was soon to come to an end as Taiwan began to scrutinize and ask reasonable questions on requested funding. Jammeh suddenly shocked Taiwan by severing ties with its favorate diplomatic Allie up to date.
The diplomatic break up with Taiwan came amid increasing pressure from the EU when it issued a seventeen point demand to hold Jammeh accountable on his Human rights records, democracy and rule of law. They threatened to cut funding if governing and Human Rights conditions did not improve within a specified period of time. This left President Jammeh scrambling again for new friends while venting his anger towards former colonies and the West before eventually pulling Gambia out of the Commonwealth of Nations without prior notice. This again shocked many Gambians and the international community. What opponents of President Jammeh did not realize is his savvy diplomatic manipulation and determination to do anything to stay in power. He studied the diplomatic game of hide and deceit jumping from one Allie to another for economic survival.
As his desperation and economic survival narrows with intense pressure from a determined Diaspora citizen activists and pressure from international right groups, President Jammeh made the final ultimate move that would eventually prove to be his final frontier. His recent appointment of Dr. Senghore an Islamic Scholar as Foreign Minister clearly exposes his next ploy to exploit more nations through diplomatic relationships to keep his wasteful and sinking government from sliding into economic chaos. He immediately traveled to Qatar to sign an investment relationship deal with the super wealthy Emir.
However, unlike his previous moves to establish diplomatic relationships purely on economic aide, President Jammeh’s move towards the Middle East is far more dangerous but appealing to him than any other relationship he has ever had. When he goes to the Middle East he is assured of no mention of Human Rights, Democracy or rule of law. Almost every leader in the Middle East is a dictator and human rights issues are nonexistence. No leader in the Middle East talks about democracy or rule of law and human life is less valued in the Middle East as thousands of their citizens are slaughtered in the streets everyday like chicken. Women and minorities are treated like sub citizens and deprived of their God given rights as equal citizens.
Therefore, where one man rule is the order of the day; elections are tabooed and citizen demonstrators are treated like terrorists, what other place is more appealing to a dictator who is willing to kill and maim his people at will than becoming part of a gang of kings and supreme leaders? Like his Middle Eastern counter parts, President Jammeh equally hides behind the teachings of the Holy Quran while he orchestrates his plots to dismantle freedom and independent mindedness of his people. Like them he wants to create a Pseudo Islamic nation where he will eventually become the supreme leader of the Gambia. He is more likely to win over sympathy from these Middle Eastern Ayatollah’s by taunting the terrorism card, exploiting the Palestinian issue, Gay Marriages and other anti-Western Rhetoric. By the time his opponents catch up with his dirty diplomatic game, he would have exploited these Müllers to the level of changing the Gambia to an Islamic Republic. President Jammeh has therefore found a new niche which has added more life lines to his dying regime. The Middle East certainly appears to be his final diplomatic frontier but could also spell his ultimate downfall as that’s the place where evil lives and dies.