The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has award about two dozen Gambians living in the diaspora for their support to his twenty two year regime including the country’s crass deputy ambassador to the United Nation’s Samsudeen Sarr.
Mr Jammeh’s office said the awardees see progress rather than hindrances in the country with their commitment to the ruling APRC party. Sarr and one other awardee, Sulayman Syngle Nyassi were one time critics of President Jammeh who later through a reconciliation amnesty pledged their allegiance to the APRC.
In May, Ambassador Sarr, who accused Western governments of trying to overthrow Jammeh admitted to saying he will shoot and kill protesters who took part in a rare protest demanding electoral reforms. He maintains his decision to use force to suppress protests even after the death-in-custody of a senior opposition figure remains unchanged.
President Yahya Jammeh has a strong opposition is the diaspora especially in the United States, where newspapers and radio stations have been mounting pressure on his administration. Diaspora political groups have become Jammeh’s de-facto opposition, posing the most threat to end his rule. At least four Gambians have been prosecuted in the United States for violating the Neutrality Act when they conducted a military expedition to overthrow Mr Jammeh.
Some of those awarded including Batch Samba Jallow, Malick Mbai and Mr Nyassi have set up online radios and newspapers to help counter the negative press Jammeh always receives.