It’s not strange to see Yahya Jammeh using any opportunity of public appearance to express his hatred and discrimination towards the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Whether his stance is a genuine representation of his thoughts and feelings towards LGBT people, or is just another political propaganda added to his anti-colonialists rhetorics,may leave doubt in many minds. It’s obvious most of his audience will believe him exactly as he say it without proper thoughts to see why he is so obsessed with this group. Most will jump to conclusion without hesitation and that has always lead them to wrong perceptions and directions. Most Gambians hardly bother about making a simple analysis to get to the truth behind Jammeh’s motives.
Since he came to power, Jammeh has adopted an anti-colonialism ideology. Many will agree with me that colonialism has featured as the most popular topic whenever Jammeh wants to mislead the public. Using negative comments against colonialists is famous strategy in nurturing his acceptance from Gambians.
While Jammeh has a clear personal motive in his anti colonialists rhetorics, it’s unfortunate that many Gambians nod their heads in agreement to his ideology. Whilst it’s a clear fact that slavery and colonialism are past phenomena which the world can’t be nostalgic of, it’s an offence to rely on them to achieve personal goals at the expense of the citizenry. It’s a clear fact that colonialists have not done worse than Jammeh. When it comes to shedding of blood and tears he can’t be matched.
Jammeh has been bragging about success of his revolution. To me and many others, the July 22 revolution could only be remembered for giving birth to torture, disappearances, detentions without charges and economic sufferings in the Gambia. This is a regime that qualified to be cause for eroding freedom and liberty of Gambians. It puts them in constant pain and despair. It’s a regime that gave birth to a governance where the leader is immune to loot and squander the nation’s resources to satisfy his cravings. These brutalities and malpractices are what the West anticipated and as a result couldn’t recognise his military regime.
Presently, there are families mourning their loved ones who are either languishing in jail, under detention with the worst inhumane conditions of torture or may have even been tortured dead. Living standard has deteriorated to a level where even basic meals could hardly be afforded by most families, despite Jammeh is lavishing millions on birthdays and on foreign wrestlers. Does he cares? Absolutely no, but who dares to challenge him?
The international community, mainly the West has constantly expressed concerns over Jammeh’s human rights abuses. They want to see democracy, rule of rule of law, human rights and good governance being restored. For Jammeh, these would be a recipe for the end of his bloody regime. From this, it should be clear to us that Jammeh’s protests against the West are not sincerely meant to show care to Gambians, but meant purposely to mislead the nation about the West.
Similarly, Jammeh’s homophobic comments could be seen from the same perspective as that of anti colonialist ideology. Many will agree with me LGBT is not the main problem to Gambians. There are more pertinent issues to be tackled and yet Jammeh cannot offer solutions. Issues like, the economy and the justice system are the main concern for Gambians.
Why then Jammeh is so obsessed with gays? Because he has a personal agenda of diverting the public opinion from the poor state of the economy, lack of justice and concerns of the international community over human rights abuses in the Gambia.
When the EU pointed out areas which needed improvement, as part of the Cotonou Agreement which centers on human rights, Jammeh misled the public with more anti-gays rhetorics. He organised a government protest for the first time to reject the EU proposals.
What was more astonishing was the EU did not specifically mentioned gay rights on the 17-point proposals. But Jammeh, with the believe that majority of Gambians don’t support gay relationship, he became more determined to use the topic to divert attention.
While it could be true Jammeh does not like the West and gay relationship, it would also be correct to say he is merely using these as ways to cover up his rights abuses and malpractices to the detriment of Gambians.
BY BABA JOBE, UK