Gambian president targets “lazy workers”

Jammeh promises to wipe them out unless they become more productive

Gambian president targets "lazy workers"

Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images

“Lazy workers” will be the target of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in his new term in office. The long-serving leader, who has been in power since a coup in 1994, was sworn in for a new five-year period on Jan. 19 after a November election widely seen as tainted. In his inauguration speech, Jammeh vowed to “wipe out almost 82 per cent” of workers if they don’t become more productive.

Exactly what he meant by that is unclear. Massamba Jagne of the Gambian Canadian Cultural Association of Toronto says, “He’s the one who’s lazy.” Jagne adds that “Gambians are not lazy. Actual Gambian citizens are developed. Not the government. The little development that is in Gambia is being done by actual citizens who are building businesses.”

A country of 1.8 million, Gambia has an average annual income of $456. Jagne, who was in Gambia during the November presidential election, says he witnessed blatant government abuse of advertising space for political purposes. “In the middle of the night—that’s when you would see the opposition’s ads. During the daytime, it was all Jammeh,” he says. No wonder Jammeh won with 72 per cent of the vote.

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