30 April 2011

An Open Letter Ms Reine Alapini Gansou, Chairperson of the African Commission

Balangbaa: The Campaign for Civil Disobedience in The Gambia.

An Open Letter
Ms Reine Alapini Gansou,
Chairperson of the African Commission
C/o Kairaba Beach Hotel
April 26, 2011

Dear Ms Gansou,
This no-confidence protest letter is addressed you in your capacity as Chairperson of the African Commission. The aim is bring the spotlight on the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), which is located in Banjul. And the intent is for you bring the concerns of the citizens of the host country of the 49th Ordinary Session, The Gambia, to the African Union (AU) body in order to educate policy-makers and the powers-that-be about what a sham the ACDHRS has become. First, allow me to diverge into another important area of concern to Africans all across the continent. As passive observers of the shenanigans that have dominated the operations of the African Union and its predecessor, the Organization of African Union (OAU), Africans have become frustrated with the redundancy, wastefulness and utter uselessness of the continental body and regional institutions such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The picture that has emerged is that the African Union and its predecessor the OAU have existed solely to serve the interests of the leaders of its member states. To that effect, these institutions have become white-elephants where millions of dollars are wasted each year for the purpose of preserving the selfish interests of corrupt leaders and brutal regimes. The past five decades have seen African leaders and their corrupt regimes squander the goodwill and economic fortunes of African countries and reduced their people to devastating poverty far worst than the one left behind by our colonial experience.
It is an absolutely disgraceful paradox that the continent with the largest share of the world’s natural resources, also shamefully boasts its poorest people. After fifty years of political independence, this lunacy and the political conundrum our continent is plunged into by the cruel machinations of greedy and self-centered despots and wayward bureaucracies, defies human imagination. This selfishness and greed, which cuts across Africa’s failed regimes is inexplicable in any rational way. Each year, for the past fifty years, the United States and European powers have transferred billions of dollars to regimes all across the continent, yet we have noting to show for it. Instead, Africa’s ever worsening poverty, which has generated civil wars and created civil strife in countries across the continent, will continue to fester and claim the lives of millions more Africans. And this is just the beginning. In the 1960s and 1970s, Africa was generally better off economically than the vast majority of Asian and Latin American countries such as China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, but today, African leaders visit these countries with their hands tucked between their legs shamefully begging for charity aid. Even today, almost every country in African is dependent on foreign aid to survive, and some, like The Gambia, depend on foreign aid from the United States and Europe for up to 80% of annual national budgets. Institutions like the AU and ECOWAS are still funded directly by benevolent Western governments and the United Nations. Despite this incredible transfer of wealth to the abjectly poor African countries, a World Bank study found that in 2005 alone, African politicians and bureaucrats looted $148 billion from their countries and stashed these funds in foreign bank accounts. This amount was more than the total foreign aid transfer to African countries for that year. This staggering amount of money is absolutely mind-bugling, yet it is true.
Now back to the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), an organization which has been in existence for nearly a quarter century, but which has done nothing to challenge the incredible human rights violations of Africa’s misanthropic  despots, in particular, the idiot we have in The Gambia; Yahya Jammeh. The ACDHRS has never issued a press release to condemn any one of the more than one hundred and thirty murders and executions of Gambians, Senegalese, Nigerians and Ghanaians, all of who met their sad fates at the hands of Yahya Jammeh’s agents of death. Never once has the ACDHRS made a public pronouncement or produced a document that challenges Yahya Jammeh’s criminal regime for its gross human rights violations. Meanwhile, the murders, executions, tortures, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and other serious violations perpetrated by Yahya Jammeh’s regime continue unabated. And now, the ACDHRS has turned into a white-elephant despite the inconsequential forums the organization is involved in, such the 49th Ordinary Session, taking place in Banjul right now. Each year, millions of dollars are being wasted in holding these meaningless meetings which have never produced any worthwhile results as far as we African are concerned. It would appear people who attend these useless meetings do so for the money and other perks they receive. Given its history of uselessness and inefficiency in the face of the ongoing human rights violations in The Gambia, which includes extra-judicial executions, forced disappearances, tortures and incarcerations in Africa’s worst prison, Mile 2 Prisons, The Gambia no longer deserves the privilege to host the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS). As a result, Gambians demand that the ACDHRS be moved to another country that deserves the unique honour of hosting the Center. As it is, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) exists to throw millions of dollars down a bottomless pit. The money wasted to pay unearned salaries and other perks could be better utilized to serve other useful purposes. Since Yahya Jammeh uses the ACDHRS to project an unreal image of The Gambia, Gambians demand that the ACDHRS be defunded and relocated elsewhere.

By Mathew K Jallow: Balangbaa: The campaign for Civil Disobedience in The Gambia.

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