Spreading the Anti-gay Bushfire


Last week the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals ‘vermin’ and promised to eradicate them. What’s he up to, wonders Rob Buchanan.


Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh has referred to gay people as “vermin”. Displaying he knows as little about medical science as he does about morality he went on to say:  “We will fight these gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.”

If the President of a country is ignorant enough to think mosquitoes cause malaria, it’s little wonder his nation is a medieval-style hell. He was in exalted company when he previously said gays were a threat to humanity, echoing almost word for the word a comment by Pope Benedict in 2011.

President Yahya Jammeh also said: “As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis.”

The same President gladly resigns the already impoverished and miserable population of Gambia to more suffering from famine and disease, reiterating a comment made by the Ugandan government this week, that they would gladly refuse vital food and medical relief if gay civil rights was an issue.

And the “civil rights” concerned in this particular part of the world isn’t the right to marry or adopt, it’s the right not to get hacked with machetes or burned to death in a murder sanctioned your own ‘religious’ government. President Yahya Jammeh infamously threatened to decapitate gay people following his rise to power in a bloody military coup in 1994. Growing fat in his presidential palace, he has very little understanding of leprosy, gonorrhoea, bacteria or tuberculosis

Here’s something you might not have known about this man who preaches about morality and inhumanity. In March 2009 an Amnesty International report claimed that up to 1,000 Gambians were kidnapped by government-sponsored “witch doctors”. An article in The New York Times claimed this was due to President Yahya Jammeh believing the death of his aunt earlier that year could be attributed to witchcraft.

Jammeh has been blamed for the 2004 massacre of 50 Ghanaian people. In 2000, Jammeh was accused of ordering his troops to kill 12 students and a journalist during a student protest

President Yahya Jammeh has been responsible for overseeing tyrannical media restrictions since he grasped power. This includes still unproven links to the assassinations of many journalists critical of his regime, including Deyda Hydara, editor of a tabloid called The Point. In 2004 Jammeh told the nation’s media it must obey his government “or go to hell”. The following year he said that television and radio allowed “too much expression” in Gambia.

In another corner of the brave new Africa, a Ugandan government spokesman said their people would rather “die poor” than give up their barbarous anti-gay “jail the gays” laws which result in imprisonment death and torture for simply loving someone. Ironically it was Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity who made these statements.

Similar laws in Uganda make the wearing of miniskirts punishable by imprisonment, because women as well as homosexuals are a source of moral corruption. One can imagine how the justice system in Uganda reacts to female claims of rape or child abuse when they think a woman wearing a dress is more immoral than cutting someone’s head off for love another human being.

So what does President Yahya Jammeh want from his pogroms against homosexuals? It’s not about winning elections, because he’s a tyrant in power since a coup in 1994. And for a man who is capable of murder and multiple marriage, it’s hardly some credible moral outrage he’s entertaining. So clearly he’s seeking the West’s attention. Perhaps a paradoxical appeasement of some kind would open the doors to diplomacy? What’s clear, no matter what he wants, is that the anti-gay brushfire, started in Nigeria and Uganda, has now spread to Gambia, and something must be done for the sake of all the people of Africa. These countries are pushing the continent back into the dark ages.

I’ve written previously about the moral pitfalls of restricting badly needed aid to third world countries. Psychopaths like President Yahya Jammeh, and other post-colonial African leaders before him, such as Idi Amin, would gladly allow their people to starve and suffer, so imposing sanctions will do little to sway their opinions. We should continue to provide aid, even if only a percentage of it is actually be distributed to the needy, and possibly this lifeline does little but continue to prop up the anarchic system.

The answer may come from elsewhere in Africa, as many parts of the continent slowly adopt progressive changes to improve human rights conditions and overall economic development through education and the sharing of information. Yahya Jammeh’s crusade against the media shows he is conscious that such education and information are his deadliest enemies.


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