Leaders who are perceived as dictators are known to have big egos larger than their heads. They have to nourish their egos at all times for them to feel worthy of acceptance to the people. Their biggest vulnerability and insecurity are lack of trust and acceptability to the people they rob their egos on. In effect dictators feel belittled, empty and rejected when people they do business with or govern fail to listen to them and yield to their absolute power that they believe they acquire on their own.
As a result, they always manage to incite fear; build suspicion and lack of trust among their closest aides to ensure that their power is preserved and protected. Thus, dictators are always insecure and vulnerable within and outside forces and the only way they can survive is to create a mysterious image of themselves that allies and enemies find hard to demystify. This keeps them in power as long as possible while they destroy themselves and their future along the way. Dictators only live the moment without regard to historical evidence, common sense and or what the future holds for them.
This is precisely the state of mind and bubble the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh found himself. He cannot stand anyone, any institution or government that questions his power and convictions. He thinks he is always right and supposedly the most patriotic citizen the Gambia has ever produced. That he has been sent to save the Gambia and its people. This is why President Jammeh keep alienating himself and the Gambian nation from established International institutions such as the ECOWAS, The European Union, Commonwealth and Gambia’s many long term friends and allies.
Accident among the President’s convoy
When Jammeh launched a bit to contest for the ECOWAS chairmanship elections which was held in Ivory Coast in March 2013 without regard to any previous relationships with other nations, his records on human rights and Democracy, he was dealt a humiliating defeat in broad day light. He could not muster the courage to even stay to the conclusion of the event or congratulate the Ghanaian President who was elected to the position. As if that wasn’t damning enough to his Ego, the embattled President dare not show up at the EU/Africa Summit held in Belgium April 2 -3rd 2014, in fear of confrontation with his foreign dissident activists who tasted moral victory against him and his entourage in New York late 2013. He was also not comfortable to face EU leaders who have issued seventeen point demands the Gambia must comply with or face increasing isolation. As a result, President Jammeh even kept his Secretary General and government officials from attending the summit.
Facing these humiliating defeats compound by a snub by Senegalese President Macky Sall who failed to invite Jammeh to Senegal’s 54th Independence anniversary, President Jammeh had to find a way to boost his ego and show that he is still relevant. He abruptly embarked on an empty dialogue with the people tour which is often done close to the planting season where farmers are getting ready to return to the farm for the season. Jammeh’s trip in April came at a time when most farmers often take time off from their lands and visit relatives in the cities and or busy traveling to local markets to enjoy their off season. President Jammeh’s lavish trip with a fleet of expensive vehicles amid reported fuel shortage in the Gambia really tells of a morally bankrupt leadership without priorities.
There was virtually no major project that the President launched during his visit with the people. Instead, what we have seen is a President who enjoys being worshiped by the people running around chanting “Yahya Jammeh babilimansa” with hungry little school children asked to stand on road sides for hours and hours while their President speed by caring less about their general economic well-being. He attracts smaller crowds from every village mainly from curious hungry and demoralized onlookers who only wants to have a glimpse of this so called President with Supernatural powers to cure diseases he may be suffering from. Of course, after all the humiliations and rejections on International platforms, the iron fist ruler can only turn to the poor to bound his chest and show that he is still in control. He feels big and rich among the poorest of the poor.
President Jammeh seizes farmers’ most fertile lands, force them to toil on his farms and misuse their hard earn tax money without regard to their economic, social and political conditions. Jammeh without a doubt will go down in history as Gambia’s most insensitive, most egocentric and disconnected leader from reality Africa will ever witness. Now that he has gotten his much needed dose of “Babilimansa” slogans from a demoralized starving population, he can go back to the State House and feel better! When he recovers from the dust, a dose of reality of a disgusted population and wary international partners will still await him!