Once again, Gambians have been subjected to yet another humiliating embarrassment by no less a person than our own head of state. It is indeed hard to see any justification for President Yahya Jammeh to apparently stoop so low by not only inviting an ordinary Senegalese wrestler and giving him red carpet treatment like a foreign head of state, but also showering him and his wife with very expensive gifts; two brand new four-wheel drive vehicles and apparently a large cash donation to both him and other members of his large entourage. There is no doubt that those vehicles must have cost a fortune. If this is not yet another clear indication of an apparent lack of respect and insensitivity to the plight of Gambians, most of whom are experiencing the worst economic down-turn this country had ever passed through, then one would wonder what else it could be.
We all know that Eumeu Sene is a multi-millionaire who just raked more than 60 million CFA francs from his recent bout with Balla Gaye. Therefore, it is hard to see how anyone can justify making such expensive gifts and cash donation to him and his large delegation to Banjul as if President Jammeh has more than enough money to dish out.
Of course any Gambian, who listens to the various comments being made by the Senegalese on the matter, would no doubt be quite embarrassed, because like all normal human beings, it is hard to understand why President Jammeh would spend Gambia’s hard-earned money on a non-Gambian wrestler with absolutely nothing in return for the country and its people. They are making all sorts of unsavory remarks against President Jammeh and he seems to be losing the few supporters and sympathizers he ever had amongst the Senegalese.
Indeed, if his objective was to win admiration from both Gambians and Senegalese, he seems to have achieved the opposite because hearing some of the comments attributed to him whilst addressing his guests, some of Senegalese see it as merely another pretext for him to vent out his anger at President Macky Sall and his regime for harbouring Gambian dissidents in Senegal.
As for a majority of Gambians, they feel not only let down by the action, but some of them also see it as the height of insensitivity to their plight.
Apart from the daily economic hardships that most Gambians are faced with, including reports that some municipal workers have not received their wages and salaries for March, apparently because most of the area councils are broke, Gambians are also faced with daily power cuts and water shortages which last several hours and in some areas for the whole day. How can therefore anyone justify wasting such large sums of money on someone who has not in any way contributed to the welfare and advancement of the lives of ordinary Gambians?
It is certainly not hard to imagine how Gambian public employees would feel when it is now more than 10 years they have not received any salary increment and their take home pay is well below the rate of inflation, and yet they see their own head of state making such generous cash donations to a foreign wrestler. Upon all that most of these public employees are also being compelled to go and do some manual labour on his farms as if Gambians are still living in the dark ages.
However, as it is said, people deserve the leader they get, and as such, one can say that Gambians deserve President Jammeh who had been taking them for a ride for so long and yet a majority of them would still vote for him during every election. Of course if he continues to treat Gambians anyhow he likes and they still continue to vote for him, then they have no cause to complain about some of his unjustifiable antics.
Also, whether by coincident or deliberate, President Jammeh’s wining and dining with Eumeu Sene and his entourage took place on the 15th anniversary of the student demonstrations in 2000 when more than 14 of them were shot and killed in cold blood by the security forces simply for insisting on going ahead with their peaceful march to highlight certain grievances.
There were also those students who were maimed by live bullets fired by the security forces and some of them are still either bed-ridden or handicapped and they are left to their own plight without any assistance from the state while the ones who shot them and those who gave the orders were indemnified by the government.
Therefore, any sensible person would have thought that if President Jammeh has enough money to dish out, those young men who have been handicapped by his security forces deserve it more than anyone else so that they can use it to seek further medical attention to ameliorate their plight.