A month after he declared The Gambia an Islamic State, President Yahya Jammeh sent a directive to all government departments instructing women to cover their hair at all times during working hours to the amazement of Gambia observers who thought he will remain true to his promise that the declaration will not affect dress codes or how people live their lives.
But unbeknownst to Gambians and the International community, the headscarf directive had nothing to do with imposition of Islamic dress code, but everything to do with yet another sinister agenda of Jammeh’s – money. In Jammeh’s true style and Modus Operandi, he neatly tied the directive to Islamic edict and tied the timing right into the declaration window so as to mask his true intentions and game plan.
When Jammeh declared The Gambia an Islamic State, Turkey thought it gesture of goodwill and show of appreciation of the move to send container loads of hijabs (headscarf) to the country to be distributed among women who would want to comply with the new environment being imposed. As soon as this information of Turkey’s offer arrived, Jammeh put his criminal mind to work.
The gift that was supposed to be distributed for free to deserving poor women ended up being earmarked by Jammeh for a huge payday for himself. It was at this point he wrote the directive that instructed all women to cover their heads during work hours. As part of the package, every woman in these departments will be given a headscarf on credit basis and the payment will be deducted from their paychecks.
The imposition of the headscarf rule was met with stiff resistance from activists in the Diaspora who mobilized to insist it be rescinded. The Christian leaders in the country led by Fr. Edward Gomez also strongly criticized the move in a sermon that was heard throughout the world; thanks to the video posted by a Facebook user and shared by activists. Other Christian leaders like Rev. John Loum and Muslim Imams like Imam Baba Leigh joined in the chorus to condemn what they termed “an effort to draw a wedge between Muslims and Christians in the country.” President Jammeh having sensed the anger the move was generating both locally and internationally, capitulated saying in a statement released to the media “Women are (Mr Jammeh’s) best friends, they are his sisters and he is here for their wellbeing and happiness at all times,”.
The sad truth is; it is evident now that Jammeh thinks governing is a joke, and therefore engaging in such blatant schemes of deception is perfectly okay. The Gambia is in big trouble.