Is Gambia now becoming a Pariah State?

17 July 2008 at 05:50 | 730 views

By Scott A Morgan

At the recently concluded Emergency Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Gambia took a position that few powers are taking. The government of President Jammeh feels that the recently conducted Presidential runoff in Zimbabwe was a valid election.

The world noticed with frustration as the date of the run off approached. The intenal situation within Zimbabwe grew more dire as each hour passed. The attacks on the political opposition grew more intense. Several African and Western governments were concerned regarding the election.

There has been some concern regarding the human rights climate for some time particularly when it comes to the status of Freedom of the Press in the country. Another potential area of concern will be access to the internet. There has been attempts to muzzle some independent online media outlets as well.

When President Jammeh arrived back in the Gambia from the summit in Egypt he launched a scathing attack on the West. He took the opportunity to accuse the West of racism for the percieved silence after the controversial elections that occured in Kenya earlier this year. President Jammeh stated that the West is interested in Zimbabwe because of the plight of the white farmers.

The fact that President Jammeh issued such comments about what the world believes is mind-boggling. It appears that one dictator is supporting another one. The fact that both leaders have used similar tactics such as supressing the independent media and rigging elections should not come as a suprise to some pro-democracy advocates.

So it appears that another African state is on the verge of becoming a pariah state. But unlike Zimbabwe or Darfur there is little or no press coverage of events within Gambia. After a statement that was made regarding the election runoff, he may get some unwarranted attention. But is this what he wants?