Authoritative sources in government have informed Fatu Radio that the Gambian Dictator President Yaya Jammeh has given orders for the reopening of lotteries and other gambling games in The Gambia, nine months after he abruptly and unilaterally ordered for their closure. Our informant has indicated that so far the Gambia National Lottery (GNL) has been informed of the decision by the President to allow them operate effective January, 2016. GNL, the premier of betting games in The Gambia is partially owned by Banjul City Council (BCC).

Since dictator Jammeh’s office announced the banning earlier this year, Banjul City Council has been making fruitless efforts, including using APRC political bigwigs to reach the President to make an announcement, which would have excluded them from the ban.

We have gathered information that sometimes in April this year, the Mayor of Banjul and his senior management held a meeting with the Clerk of the National Assembly with hopes he can use the Assembly to reach to the President and make him understand the amount of revenue the Council is losing as a result of the ban. Similar efforts were also made by owners of private betting games who at the time of the banning had already paid their operational licenses and tax for the year 2015, an amount which in itself is exorbitant and by all indications, they never got refunded.

Is could be recalled that on March 1, 2015, The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) in its prime news announced the economically unwise and defrauding decision by the Gambia’s authoritarian leader to ban “lotteries, casinos and all forms of gambling in The Gambia with effect from Monday, 2nd March 2015” urging all operators of those services and establishments to cease operations. The news release further said “Gambians are predominantly followers of Islam and Christianity and both religions explicitly or implicitly strictly forbid adherents from engaging in gambling”.

The new directive allowing the lotteries to start operating is simply an indication that Jammeh’s regime is feeling the brunt of the bad state the economy and is making all efforts to boost its tax revenue in 2016. The Finance Minister while presenting the 2016 budget estimates to National Assembly Members said 2016 will be a difficult year for the Gambia as it continues to grapple with public debt and a huge deficit in 2015. The economic situation is worsen by the fact that many partners including EU has given its back to The Gambia as a consequence to Yaya Jammeh’s lack of respect for humanity and his lack of accountability and respect for financial principles.

Again, the U-turn goes to show how confuse dictator Jammeh is. Two weeks ago, he unconstitutionally proclaimed Gambia ‘an Islamic State’ and turn  back to lift the ban on gambling, a practice he said is unreligious.