The Gambian President, dictator Yahya Jammeh, has set up a committee tasked with organizing a cooking competition for all and sundry in the Gambia as part of the country’s 50th independence celebration. The committee comprises Rohey Bittaye – Office of the President, Nancy Njie – ex Executive Director Jammeh Foundation for Peace and Modou Joof – ex deputy Director GRTS. They are tasked with organizing the cooking competition that will derive participants from the whole of Gambia with prize money of 1million dalasis for the ultimate winner.
As the country plunges deeper into economic hardships with IMF approving on 2nd April an emergency $10.8 million bailout for Gambia , President Jammeh preoccupies himself with many irrelevant competitions and musical jamborees in which he lavishes huge amounts to individuals.
While the winner of the cooking competition gets 1million Dalasi cash prize, staff of Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council, Brikama Area Council and other area councils are still not paid their March salary. A senior civil servant who described the competitions organized by President Jammeh as “unnecessary” stated that, “President Jammeh is a leader with misplaced priorities as while many Gambians are struggling to have three decent meals a day, Jammeh is busy wasting monies like a lunatic”.
He further stated that “90% of Gambian youths are unemployed, many youths now choose to leave the Gambia en mass and take the risky backway to Europe hoping to earn a decent living. All these monies he spends on these unnecessary competitions could have been utilize to create more employment opportunities and improve the decaying Gambian economy”.
What many Gambians find even more unacceptable and distasteful is the despicable parties he holds in Kanilai every weekend where young girls get molested and sexually abused. He spends thousands of dollars inviting and partying with Caribbean musicians who do not bring any socio-economic development of the Gambia, and instead fleece the President of millions that could have been spent on other priority areas like health etc.
Many observers claim that these artist and celebrities invited by the President loot the meager resources that are meant for the development of the country and go home to sing Jammeh’s praises ignoring the suffering of the masses being brutalized by Jammeh.
When President Jammeh is not organizing beauty pageants for young girls and various competitions, he is co-ordinating a wrestling competition; all of which only deplete the economy and do not result in any value being added to the economy.
Observers say that a responsible leader would have sponsored youth development initiatives, invest in skills training for school leavers and dropouts, donate to the University to fully equip the library and provide them with subventions to alleviate the annual 10% increase on fees, donate medicines and equipment to the hospitals etc. These initiatives would have alleviated the plight of the youths in Gambia and show that the President is taking responsibility and spending or donating to priority areas, however with dictator Jammeh its endless parties, competitions and lavishing monies on so called celebrities which bring zero returns.