Baba Jaiteh (the author)
Baba Jaiteh (the author)

(JollofNews) – On July 22 this year, Dictator Yahya Jammeh will celebrate the 22 anniversary of the military coup that brought him to power.

These past 22 years have brought nothing arrest, detention, intimidation, torture and killing of innocent Gambians whom the regime was supposed to protect. I am therefore calling on Gambians to boycott the celebrations as there is nothing progressive to celebrate.
Every year, millions of Dalasis is spent on this anniversary celebration just for Mr Jammeh to tell is who he is and how he wants to govern us as a nation from day one.  Did we Gambians not see that in every step he takes every speech he made and every project he embarks on?

As a nation fellow citizen, we are much better than that. But the most annoying thing it is that  have we allow it to happen for so long when we could actually do something about it and eventually stop it. As Albert Einstein once stated: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

The Gambia, a nation so humble in her approach, decent in her characters and forward thinking in her actions, the smiling coast of Africa has nothing left in her tank but a dictator who will stop at nothing absolutely just to stay in power. How did he do that is out there for us all to see and understand!

Fellow citizens, I don’t remember how many celebrations we have seen in the past 22 years of the Jammeh regime and I don’t really care since the damage has been done already but what disturbs me about the whole fiasco is the amount of money it takes from the tax payer.

The national treasury is always stretched to its limit to finance the flamboyant life style of Dictator Jammeh and his entourage at the expense of the tax payers. The Gambian tax payers are being branded as the culprits by Jammeh whenever there is an economic downturn when in the actual fact, they are only victims and he is the culprit.

Let us all reflect on the history of how the Gambia gained independence from Britain and how that strive had eventually turned out to be nothing but a forgetful achievement in the face of the rubbish and pathetic July 22nd celebration. The amount of public funds used each year to finance the July 22nd celebration is enormous and alarming.

Let’s think about how much that’s going to cost the tax payer. Hamat Bah, leader of the opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP) has said in an interview with The Point Newspaper that during July 22nd celebration in 2014; the government spent D86 million which is a serious abuse of the national resources.

Take a look at this figure which was spent on the July 22nd celebration in one year not to mention the other lavish spending of Jammeh. If we multiply D86 million by 22 years, this equals D1.892 billion. Almost 2 billion goes in vain without any returns.
This is only the July 22nd celebration while the other lavish celebrations of Jammeh are not even considered like his birthday celebrations and the barbaric and irresponsible event in Kanilai called (the so-called roots home-coming festival and “Futampaff”) are not taken into account.

Fellow Gambians, if I may ask, what did we gain or achieve from the numerous celebrations since July 22nd 1995? Did it make us any better as a nation? Did it help to balance our budget for every fiscal year that comes? I am telling you with all honesty that it has not and I’m sure every patriotic Gambian have realised that. In fact, it has pulled us back from where the former regime was taking us.
As a nation, the Gambia is regressing while the rest of the world is advancing towards prosperity. According to a recent article in the The Guardian, it is estimated that more than 700,000 people – around 42 per cent of the country’s 1.8million population – are at risk of going hungry and the situation is expected to deteriorate while Jammeh lavishes money on celebrations, on musicians and footballers.

To sum this up frankly, Jammeh is not serious about national development. The money that is being wasted on celebrations and other useless but rather extravagant activities can be meaningfully spent in other areas of national development such as the health sector, which lacks everything at the moment, education, agriculture and tourism to mention but a few.  If Yahya Jammeh is arresting Gambians and charging them for economic crimes, then what should be his conviction? The answer is simple; he should be put on trial for crimes against humanity and be sentenced to death period.

Fellow Gambians, What is July 22nd and why should we celebrate it in the first place? July 22nd has nothing to do with the history of who we are as a country and what we stand for as a people. So why should we spend so much to celebrate it and suffer while we can ignore it and gain millions.

July 22nd 1994 was a quiet and blessed Friday just like any other day. The only peculiar thing about it for us Gambians is that, it was the day the military junta led by the then Lt. Yahya Jammeh mistakenly and arrogantly marched to the State House in Banjul and took over the country. People then consider it a victory but little did they realised it was an overthrow of their own rights, freedom of speech and democracy.

I personally have never seen it as a special day really let alone celebrate it. Gambians should not be surprise why there is high unemployment, frequent price rises and a lower standard of living in the country since July 22nd 1994. The Reason is that our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is never sufficient to sustain the population and the only thing we Gambians rely on to survive as a nation is imports and charities from other developed nations.

Our Gross National Product (GNP) unfortunately, is controlled by one person in the name of Dictator Jammeh since he owns everything in the Gambia. Maybe, some people will be baffled by what am talking about here but these are the activities that drives a country‘s economy to prosperity. However, the sad thing about it for us Gambians is that it all rest in the hands of an ignorant and arrogant dictator who doesn’t know his right from left let alone managing a country and its resources.

Fellow citizens, I am of the opinion that if we could prevent ourselves from all these embarrassing celebrations and wastage of public funds by removing this dictatorial regime. I have a very good feeling that the Vision 2020 that Dictator Jammeh has himself set as a target will never achieved while he is in power. It is a waste of time and resources to the Gambians and our national development.
Meanwhile, I am calling on all patriotic Gambians to turn their backs on the coming July 22nd celebration as a demonstration of our individual rights and freedom to choose right from wrong; since for me July 22nd is only but wrong in all forms.
Long live the Gambia!
Written by Baba Jaiteh, Birmingham, United Kingdom