The Gambia: President Jammeh’s 64th United Nations General Assembly Speech - A Critical and Objective Analysis

5 November 2009 at 02:56 | 559 views

By Binneh S. Minteh, USA.

When one critically and objectively examines President Jammeh’s 64th United Nations General Assembly Speech from a contemporary modern global political perspective, it could be argued that the charismatic Gambian leader spurred compelling relevant arguments on Partnerships in Global governance, Peace and Security, Africa in the modern world and the relation of developing nations and global economic partners, and the contentious plight of the Palestinian people.

He also defended the interest of The Gambia through his foreign policy, but fell short in diplomatic language, using the occasion as an opportunity to harp on the controversies surrounding his administration.

On partnerships in Global Governance and development, President Jammeh called for greater unity, partnerships and collaborations among nations –small or large- poor or rich- one that is based on mutual respect, understanding under the framework of justice and the rule of law.

Taking an in-depth analysis of the global political landscape, the Gambian leader could not have said it better, as the world has indeed changed – Change that requires greater cooperation among nations to enable us deal with global economic, political and social challenges and contradictions.

Numerous scholars of contemporary global affairs made similar arguments that only through openness, cooperation and partnerships in global governance could we effectively deal with Peace and Security challenges of our times. This, according to several analysts, would include equal representation and equal voices in the United Nations as the world governing body.

The Gambian leader only failed to use the occasion in building his image as a champion of justice and the rule of law. He could have used the international occasion to apologize to all victims of alleged human rights violations under his regime. That would only make him a strong leader and pave the way for The Gambia to come to terms with its past.

Dilating on the plight of Africa and developing nations in the modern world, President Jammeh’s argument falls right on the trajectories of history. Although institutional failures in modern day African governments could take some of the blame, post-colonial Africa has been designed as a colonial instrument of exploitation.

Africa’s relations with multinational corperations are not based on openness, trust, mutual respect and interest. The Gambian leader made a compelling argument, and ending Africa’s image as a neo-colonial exploitative unit is the first step in confronting the continent’s challenges. And that could only be attained by taking leadership and ownership through accountability and transparency based on mutual interest.

Relations with Global Financial Institutions have also been built around controversial policies, thus propelling many African countries into huge debt burdens. For example citing Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Argentina, and Sub-Saharan Africa in his 2002 book, Globalization and its Discontents, the contemporary modern economist Joseph Stiglz accuses the IMF of placing flawed economic demands on developing nations which have demonstrably resulted in further economic ruin for many of those nations which have sought aid at the doorstep of the IMF (Eichengreen, 2002).

Joseph Stiglz argued that the implementation of conditional IMF economic policy in exchange for much-needed financial aid resulted in total collapses of those nations’ financial institutions. By making such an argument at the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Gambian leader could not have said it better.

The only observation with this part of President Jammeh’s argument is the standard of diplomatic language used in his characterization of multinational corporations. He therefore fell short by referring to multi-national corporations as “locusts,” and the United Nations as an “Animal Farm.” Such a language should be left for scholars to use, but not a Head of State.

In the international diplomatic arena, the use of language is critical as it has a direct impact on the image of a leader and a nation. Hopefully, President Jammeh’s speech writers would take concrete steps to ensure that proper diplomatic language is used in all his forthcoming speeches at international functions.

On the question of deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, President Jammeh must be commended for acknowledging global efforts and calling on support for International Research on the use of traditional medicine in confronting the menaces of diseases in Africa. This has indeed manifested the President dropping his previous claims of curing aids and seeking for a collective global support for traditional treatments using theories and hypotheses of modern science. By boldly using the United Nations General Assembly as a venue to do so, the Gambian leader manifested courage and commitment to the global quest of tackling the menaces of deadly diseases.

Addressing the contentious plight of the Palestinians, President Jammeh’s call for respecting a two state solution, as crafted by the International Community falls on the right path of history. It could be rightfully argued that the inconsistency of the International community and failure to handle the crisis with honesty, openness and respect is what has dragged on the conflict for so long. Israel must put an end to continuous settlement of Palestine Territory, and Palestine must also end rocket attacks on Israel.

Chronicling global Peace and Security, President Jammeh’s call for international cooperation in finding peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world is indeed timely. With the global financial meltdown taking its toll on communities around the world, greater cooperation in dealing with conflicts such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine/ Israel, Darfur, Sudan, and the delicate nuclear impasse with Iran, is what the world needs. International assistance and cooperation in bridging the divide in nations with volatile political landscapes is also needed at such times.

The Gambian leader only fail short to use this occasion as an opportunity of appealing to the World Body, to assist in bridging the political divide in The Gambia through a national reconciliation. The occasion was indeed an opportunity for President Jammeh to usher in a new chapter in the midst of all the controversy that surrounds his administration. He could have also used the occasion to call for greater international cooperation and support for a lasting solution to the low level insurgency in Casmance, Senegal, and the drug trade that ravaged West Africa over the years. Nonetheless the Gambian leaders call for greater international cooperation in finding peaceful solutions to conflicts must be hailed as a milestone in the annals of modern times.

Calling an end to US Sanctions against Cuba, the recognition of Taiwan as a Sovereign State, and the Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco on the question of Moroccan Sahara, President Jammeh defended both his foreign policy and the interest of The Gambia. It should be noted that following sanctions in the aftermath of the Military coup that brought President Jammeh to power in 1994, bilateral relations with Cuba and Taiwan were strengthened, for the survival and security of the nation. The Gambia has since then received considerable amount of aid from Taiwan and Cuba. Cuba’s medical team is active in virtually all aspects of The Gambia’s health care system, giving considerable emphasis to preventive care (Whitney Jr, 2007). Until today, both Cuba and Taiwan continue to provide assistance in Education, Science and Technology.

From a contemporary global political analysis, President Jammeh’s call to end sanctions against Cuba falls along the trajectories of several scholarly policy arguments. Several other nations called for an end to sanctions against Cuba. Even in the United States, some legislators and policy analysts opined along similar parallels. It could therefore be argued that the Gambian leader not only defended his Foreign Policy and the interest of the Gambia, but made compelling calls that are in line with the new multi – lateral global order.

In comparison to his previous United Nations General Assembly speeches, President Jammeh demonstrated considerable leadership and knowledge whilst sparring on Partnerships in Global governance, Peace and Security, Africa in the modern world and the relation of developing nations and global economic partners, and the contentious plight of the Palestinian, and The Gambia’s Foreign Policy and Interest. The Gambian leader only failed short in his diplomatic language, the call for international assistance in bridging the political divide in The Gambia through a national reconciliation, the issue of the low – level insurgency in Casmance, Senegal, and the drug trade ravaging the sub-region.

Hopefully great lessons are learned from this experience. His overall Performance was encouraging for a Young African Leader of modern times. This is just a food for thought.