President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia is saying there will be a turnaround in the world’s refugee crisis as of next year. Jammeh last weekend said there will be an influx of European refugees into The Gambia, Africa’s smallest nation.
“By July 2017 white people will be coming here as refugees looking for jobs,” Jammeh said. “We have to thank God for all the blessings we have in this country.”
President Yahya Jammeh’s call to the international community to resettle Rohingyaa refugees to The Gambia went ignored with the country still having few Refugees from Southern Casamance. The Gambia was home to thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The Gambia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Africa and has the third highest number of migrants crossing into Europe through the world’s deadliest border crossing, the Mediterranean sea.
The Gambian leader of 22 years said he sees it as a journey destined by God for Gambian youths to take the risky Mediterranean crossing into Europe, blaming their death on what he calls “their impatience.”
President Yahya Jammeh has promised economic growth and to transform The Gambia into a middle-income country that will be a financial center by 2020 and an economic superpower by 2025 and is seeking a fifth mandate.
The Gambians head to the polls on December 1 to either choose a new government or extend Jammeh’s mandate. Jammeh, 51, has relied heavily on anti-Western sentiments and overly ambitious promises to win previous elections.
“Jammeh supporters like him because he forcefully says the prejudicial stuff they believe. He preys on their ignorance like Trump did to Americans,” says Sam Phatey, a political analyst at SMBC. ” He presents himself as a Pan-Africanist, yet treats his people worse than the colonialist and own mansions in Europe and the U.S.”
Many Gambians in Europe as seen as economic migrants rather than refugees. It could be true that Europe holds a hope for jobs and better opportunities for them but citizens of the country are faced with one of the worse human rights crisis.
From the first days of his presidency, Jammeh has painted his political opponents as “enemies of the state,” accusing them of allying with Western nations to “violently end his rule.” His regime has survived at least a dozen coups with each thwarted attempt leading to more persecution and militarization of state.
Many of President Yahya Jammeh’s development promises have failed, and the EU is withholding more than 30 million Euros in budgetary aid and development funding to The Gambia. It has threatened targeted sanctions if rights conditions do not improve or continue to deteriorate, which would put further strain on the country’s already dwindling and highly indebted economy.
“You can go ahead and believe him just like you believed the vision 2016, 24 hours uninterrupted electricity, Gambia to be Dubai or Singapore in 2016 and all other unrealistic failed promises,” said Bakary Badjie, a political commentator and child protection expert. But the question still remains: with high illiteracy and political apathy in The Gambia, will Jammeh survive the race to Marina Parade by doubling down on his bigotry and anti-Western sentiments?