“If you always follow others, you can never lead” – President Yahya Jammeh

“If you always follow others, you can never lead” – President Yahya Jammeh
  • PublishedOctober 24, 2013

Q | So where do African solutions lie in terms of making sure that the monetary value of these natural resources remains with Africans, ordinary Africans in particular?

With regards to natural resources, the solution lies in African leadership. There are some leaders who really fight for their people, but there are also those who just say yes sir, yes sir to foreign powers. These are the type of leaders we never hear being criticised by the Western media. These are their people! And they come to preach to us about democracy. Democracy, is it a 21st-century invention? No, it’s not! You come from Zambia, don’t you?

Yes, I come from Zambia, the copper rich country.

When I was in Form 5, our geography lessons talked about copper in Zambia and our Sierra Leonean teacher, Mr Camara, would tell us how the copper in Zambia was one of the most expensive metals in the world. And since then, up to today, Zambia has been the largest producer of copper in Africa, but is there much to show for it?

Q | You talked about the royalties being 3% to 5%.

Yes, and I know, that tells a lot. But as a leader, you have to be brave enough to say, “I’m not going to accept this.” For me in The Gambia, I have made that very clear.

They have cited to me all the countries that accept 3% or less for natural resource royalties, and I said that is not for The Gambia. So my only crime is standing up to them and saying I am going to defend Africa. They can call me any name they want, they can pay Gambians or other people to criticise me, I don’t give a damn! What I care about is the welfare of my people, the dignity of my people. Unfortunately, the British sold the greater part of our country, for the elephant they met in 1578 and they turned The Gambia into the small snake it is today.

But The Gambia will never be enslaved again or colonised again. That is never going to happen again, and I wish my colleagues in Africa would also stand up and ensure that their countries are not enslaved or colonised again.

It may not be physical colonisation, but it can be for example in the exploitation of our mineral resources of which I find the deals they offer us insulting. And if you stand up to them, they turn against you and call you a dictator.

But it is better to fight for the rights of your people and be called a dictator than being a puppet that they will discard when they don’t have any need of you any more.

Remember the Zairean leader, Mobutu Sese Seko, who was at one time the most important ally of the USA and the West in Africa, and how he was used to prolonging apartheid in South Africa. Mobutu was the bastion of all the anti-African elements that supported apartheid, and sponsored by the West. South Africa was free to use Zaire to attack countries like Zambia and Tanzania, that supported and hosted the African freedom fighters.

Mobutu was the most important ally of the West and when he outlived his usefulness, they sent another of their so-called leaders to kick him out. In the end, they called Mobutu a dictator, and when he died, just four people buried him in Morocco. Why don’t we Africans learn lessons from that? If they could betray their staunch ally Mobutu, who served them so faithfully to the detriment of his own country and people, who is safe in their hands?

Q | So you have a real problem with deals being offered to exploit Gambia’s oil?

Of course I do. We African leaders deprive our people from benefiting from their God-given resources because we accept ridiculous deals that prevent us from earning enough to improve the lives of our people. This is the problem. Because if they come and give you 5% and tell you how much the president is going to get, we agree. But the oil resources do not belong to the president, but to the people. So I will not accept 10% on behalf of the Gambian people. If I did, how would I explain to them that we have 10% and the foreigners have taken 90%? [scoffs]. Why would they want me to accept 5% for 35 years, do you understand?  

Unfortunately for most of us, when we want to become president, we promise a lot to our people once we become president, we turn around and believe that the West is god, [thinking] if I don’t please the West, we will not rule for a long time. And as long as Africans turn their backs on the real God and their own people, this status quo will continue, unfortunately.

Written By
New African

2 Commentaires

  • Let Gambian leader open democratic space in his country and not hide behind interests of Africa violated by the West.

  • Now we know that this story was paid for by the former dictator for around £80, 000.00. We were surprised by the journalistic line NewAfrica took in interviewing this demagogue of a president who siphoned off millions from poor people of our country to pull off a publicity stunt with this magazine. What a shame NewAfrica has reduced itself to!

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