US embassy cable - 94BANJUL3540

THE GAMBIA: JAMMEH DIGS IN DEEPER

Identifier: 94BANJUL3540
Wikileaks: View 94BANJUL3540 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Banjul
Created: 1994-10-07 12:01:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV KDEM PINR EAID ECON GA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 071201Z OCT 94
FM AMEMBASSY BANJUL
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0547
INFO AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY DAKAR IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BANJUL 003540 
 
 
DEPT FOR AF/W 
ALSO FOR AID 
LONDON FOR YOUNG 
PARIS FOR MORAN 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS:  PGOV, KDEM, PINR, EAID, ECON, GA 
SUBJECT:  THE GAMBIA:  JAMMEH DIGS IN DEEPER 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
2.  CHAIRMAN JAMMEH REMAINS UNMOVED BY SENEGALESE AND 
WESTERN DONOR CONCERNS FOR RETURN TO DEMOCRACY AND 
ATTENTION TO HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE GAMBIA.  HIS 
INTRANSIGENCE HAS BEEN BUOYED BY HIS PERCEPTION THAT 
WORLD BANK ASSISTANCE WILL BE UNAFFECTED BY 
WITHDRAWAL OF BILATERAL AND EU ASSISTANCE.  STRONG 
SUPPORTERS OF A QUICK RETURN TO DEMOCRACY IN THE 
CABINET HAVE NOT BEEN HEARD, AND THE STRONGEST 
ADVOCATE FOR DEMOCRACY, FINANCE MINISTER DABO, MAY 
NOW BE VULNERABLE.  THE PRC ITSELF IS LOSING 
COHERENCE AND BECOMING DISTANT FROM ITS SOLDIERS. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
JAMMEH: A TIMETABLE WHEN AND HOW WE WANT IT 
------------------------------------------- 
 
3.  AMBASSADOR WINTER, SENEGALESE HIGH COMMISSIONER 
MOCTAR KEBBE, BANJUL EU DELEGATE ROBERT COLLINGWOOD, 
AND ACTING BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER RICHARD AUSTEN 
MET AT SHC'S RESIDENCE OCTOBER 6, 1994, FOR THE 
WEEKLY MEETING OF THE TROIKA-PLUS -- ENVOYS OF THE 
U.S., SENEGAL, AND UK PLUS THE EU DELEGATE.  THE MOOD 
WAS SOMBER AND RESIGNED BUT CORDIAL. 
 
4.  SHC KEBBE OPENED DISCUSSION BY REPORTING HIS 
MEETING WITH CHAIRMAN JAMMEH MONDAY OCTOBER 3, 1994. 
SHC DELIVERED A DEMARCHE FROM SENEGALESE PRESIDENT 
DIOUF UNDERSCORING THAT SENEGAL CONSIDERED THE GAMBIA 
A PRIORITY.  TO THAT END, PRESIDENT DIOUF HAD 
DIRECTED THAT SENEGAL'S DELEGATES TO MINISTERIAL- 
LEVEL WORKING GROUPS FOCUSING ON SENEGAL-GAMBIA 
COMMERCE, TRANSPORTATION ISSUES, AND IMMIGRATION 
EXPEDITE THEIR NEGOTIATIONS.  GIVEN THE PRIORITY OF 
THE GAMBIA FOR SENEGAL, PRESIDENT DIOUF WAS COMPELLED 
TO EXPRESS THREE URGENT CONCERNS: 
 
-       THE PRC'S DETERIORATING PERFORMANCE REGARDING 
HUMAN RIGHTS; 
 
-       THE NEED FOR QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT OF A 
TIMETABLE FOR RETURN TO DEMOCRACY; AND 
 
-       THE NEED FOR THE GAMBIA TO MAINTAIN POSITIVE 
RELATIONSHIPS WITH AID DONORS. 
 
5.  SHC REPORTED THAT CHAIRMAN JAMMEH HAD ONLY 
RESPONDED TO THE ISSUE OF A TIMETABLE FOR RETURN TO 
DEMOCRACY.  CHAIRMAN JAMMEH HAD RETORTED THAT NO ONE 
WOULD IMPOSE A TIMETABLE ON THE GAMBIA, AND THAT THE 
PRC'S ANTI-CORRUPTION  PROGRAM WOULD TAKE TIME TO 
ACCOMPLISH.  WHEN SHC ASKED IF THE TIMETABLE WOULD 
FOLLOW PRESIDENT DIOUF'S RECOMMENDATION OF A MAXIMUM 
OF FIFTEEN MONTHS TO ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN JAMMEH AGAIN 
ANSWERED THAT IT WOULD TAKE TIME TO RECOVER THE MONEY 
STOLEN UNDER THE JAWARA GOVERNMENT. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
JAMMEH THINKS THE WORLD BANK DOESN'T CARE 
----------------------------------------- 
 
6.  CHAIRMAN JAMMEH INDICATED TO SHC THAT WORLD BANK 
COUNTRY DEVELOPMENT OFFICER LUCY KEOUGH HAD INFORMED 
HIM THAT THE WORLD BANK WOULD NOT BASE ITS DECISION 
TO MAINTAIN ASSISTANCE TO THE GAMBIA ON HUMAN RIGHTS 
ISSUES OR THE TIMETABLE, BUT WAS INSTEAD PRIMARILY 
CONCERNED WITH THE GAMBIA'S WILL TO HONOR ITS 
COMMITMENTS TO THE WORLD BANK AND ITS ABILITY TO 
MANAGE WORLD BANK PROGRAMS PROPERLY.  CHAIRMAN JAMMEH 
TOOK THESE STATEMENTS AS EVIDENCE THAT WORLD BANK 
ASSISTANCE WAS NOT DEPENDENT ON PRC ACTION TO 
EXPEDITE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A TIMETABLE OR TO ADDRESS 
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
DABO -- AND MAYBE OTHER MINISTERS -- ARE IN TROUBLE 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
7.  CHAIRMAN JAMMEH HAD ALSO OBSERVED THAT THERE WERE 
SABOTEURS AMONG HIS TEAM (PRESUMABLY THE CABINET) WHO 
WANTED THE GNA TO RETURN TO BARRACKS QUICKLY.  HE 
AGAIN AFFIRMED THAT THE PRC HAD NOT TAKEN POWER TO 
RETURN THE GAMBIA'S GOVERNMENT TO A (CORRUPT) 
 
8.  SHC WAS CONCERNED THAT FINANCE MINISTER DABO WAS 
AMONG THE QUOTE SABOTEURS UNQUOTE MENTIONED BY 
CHAIRMAN JAMMEH, IN PART BECAUSE FINMIN DABO HAS 
CONSISTENTLY INFORMED THE PRC THAT PROGRESS TOWARD 
RETURN TO DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS PERFORMANCE WERE 
ESSENTIAL TO PRESERVE WORLD BANK ASSISTANCE. SHC 
BELIEVES THAT FINMIN DABO IS IN DANGER AS A RESULT. 
 
--------------------- 
JAMMEH DOESN'T GET IT 
--------------------- 
 
9.  AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS 
WERE ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE, WHICH 
WAS A PREREQUISITE FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF WORLD BANK 
ASSISTANCE.  AMBASSADOR ALSO OBSERVED THAT CHAIRMAN 
JAMMEH HAD NOT GIVEN MS KEOUGH MUCH OPPORTUNITY TO 
SPEAK, AND THAT THE REST OF HER MESSAGE -- THAT GOOD 
GOVERNANCE ALSO MEANT OBSERVANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND 
THE RULE OF LAW -- WAS NOT HEARD.  WHILE THE WORLD 
BANK DID NOT ADDRESS POLITICAL ISSUES DIRECTLY, OTHER 
DONORS -- THE U.S., THE EU, THE UK, AND GERMANY -- 
DID.  WITHDRAWAL OF THESE DONORS WOULD MAKE WORLD 
BANK PROGRAMS UNMANAGEABLE.  MS KEOUGH HAD MADE THE 
POINT THAT THE WORLD BANK WOULD BE FORCED TO WITHDRAW 
IF OTHER MAJOR DONORS DID SO.  EU DELEGATE 
COLLINGWOOD CONCURRED THAT CHAIRMAN JAMMEH DID NOT 
UNDERSTAND HOW THE WORLD BANK WORKED. 
 
---------------------------- 
THE USAID MISSION IS AT RISK 
---------------------------- 
 
10.  AMBASSADOR BRIEFED THE GROUP ON HIS AND USAID 
REPRESENTATIVE DEPP'S MEETING WITH CHAIRMAN JAMMEH 
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1994, REPORTING CHAIRMAN 
JAMMEH'S INTRANSIGENCE REGARDING THE TIMETABLE AND 
HIS UNWILLINGNESS TO FOCUS ON MEANS TO CONTINUE U.S. 
ASSISTANCE TO THE GAMBIA.  AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT 
THAT CHAIRMAN JAMMEH SEEMED OBSESSED BY FORMER 
PRESIDENT JAWARA.  EU DELEGATE COLLINGWOOD OBSERVED 
THAT CHAIRMAN JAMMEH'S WAS NOW FOCUSED ON JAWARA TO 
THE EXCLUSION OF INTEREST IN OTHER MAJOR PLAYERS IN 
THE JAWARA GOVERNMENT.  AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT THE PRC 
HAS CONSISTENTLY FAILED TO LIVE UP TO ITS OWN 
COMMITMENTS, ESPECIALLY REGARDING FREEDOM OF SPEECH, 
THE RULE OF LAW, AND THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD 
GOVERNANCE.  HE FURTHER NOTED THAT THE PRC HAD FAILED 
TO OBSERVE ITS OWN ANNOUNCED 45-DAY DEADLINE FOR 
ANNOUNCEMENT OF A TIMETABLE.  AMBASSADOR OBSERVED 
THAT IT WAS BECOMING DIFFICULT TO JUSTIFY KEEPING THE 
BANJUL USAID MISSION OPEN, AND THAT CLOSING THE USAID 
MISSION MIGHT BE THE ONLY WAY TO DEMONSTRATE THE 
URGENCY OF USG CONCERNS TO THE PRC. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
THE UK AND EU ARE READY TO CUT AID . . . 
---------------------------------------- 
 
11.  ABHC AUSTEN REPORTED THAT, IN VIEW OF THE 
DELAYED TIMETABLE AND THE CONTINUING ISSUE OF 
DETAINEES,  THE EU WAS PREPARING AN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT 
IT INTENDED TO SUSPEND BALANCE-OF-PAYMENTS ASSISTANCE 
(NOW APPROX. USDOLS 4 MN/YR) AND WOULD CONSIDER 
SUSPENDING OTHER ASSISTANCE ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. 
PROTECTED PROGRAMS WOULD BE THOSE IN HEALTH AND 
EDUCATION, AND POSSIBLY OTHER SMALL PROGRAMS.  ABHC 
AUSTEN EMPHASIZED THAT THIS ANNOUNCEMENT WAS STILL 
BEING REVIEWED, AND ITS FINAL CONTENT REMAINED TO BE 
SEEN.  EU DELEGATE COLLINGWOOD CONFIRMED THIS 
ACTION.  HE FURTHER NOTED THAT UK MILITARY ASSISTANCE 
WAS SURE TO BE SUSPENDED. 
 
------------------- 
. . . LIBYANS OR NO 
------------------- 
 
12.  ABHC AUSTEN FURTHER REMARKED THAT THE UK 
REMAINED CONCERNED THAT CUTTING OFF ASSISTANCE TO THE 
GAMBIA WOULD DRIVE THE PRC TOWARD UNSAVORY DONORS. 
EU DELEGATE COLLINGWOOD ANSWERED THAT NONE OF THE 
OBVIOUS DONORS OF CONCERN (SUDAN, IRAN, IRAQ, OR 
LIBYQOMMIT TO THE GAMBIA.  AMBASSADOR CONCURRED, BUT 
OBSERVED THAT RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNTS OF ASSISTANCE 
MIGHT BE ALL THAT WAS REQUIRED FOR THE GAMBIA. 
 
----------------------------------- 
SHC KEBBE WILL TRY AGAIN WITH WADDA 
----------------------------------- 
 
13.  SHC REPORTED THAT HE WOULD SEE SECRETARY-GENERAL 
MOUSTAPHA WADDA LATER THE SAME DAY (OCTOBER 6, 1994), 
AND HE WOULD TRY TO IMPRESS UPON MR. WADDA THE 
LINKAGE BETWEEN EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN AID AND THAT OF 
THE WORLD BANK.  AMBASSADOR ASKED SHC TO QUERY MR. 
WADDA REGARDING THE PRC'S MOST RECENT ROUND OF 
ARBITRARY FIRINGS AND RETIREMENTS AMONG THE GAMBIA'S 
SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS.  AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT MR. 
WADDA HAD HEADED THE GAMBIA'S PUBLIC SERVICE 
COMMISSION, WHICH HAD BEEN CHARGED WITH ASSURING 
PROPER PERSONNEL PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED IN THE 
GAMBIA'S CIVIL SERVICE.  AMBASSADOR ALSO ASKED SHC'S 
OPINION OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE M'BAI'S RESPONSE TO 
THE PRC'S REFUSAL TO RELEASE A TIMETABLE.  SHC 
ANSWERED THAT MR. M'BAI WAS UNLIKELY TO RESIGN. 
 
------------------------------- 
THE PRC IS DIVIDED AND ISOLATED 
------------------------------- 
 
14.  SHC NOTED THAT MINISTER OF DEFENCE SINGHATEH HAD 
BEEN EXCLUDED FROM PRC DECISION-MAKING, AND WAS NO 
LONGER AN IMPORTANT VOICE WITHIN THE PRC.  SHC 
EXPLAINED THAT MINDEF SINGHATEH HAD LONG BEEN 
INTIMATELY ASSOCIATED WITH JAWARA'S SECRETARY-GENERAL 
JANHA, AND THAT HE HAD PERSONALLY ARRANGED FOR 
JANHA'S WIFE AND FAMILY -- AS WELL AS HIS HOUSEHOLD 
GOODS -- TO BE MOVED TO SENEGAL AFTER THE COUP.  HE 
WAS ALSO THE BEST EDUCATED AND MOST INTELLIGENT 
MEMBER OF THE PRC, WHICH DID NOT ENDEAR HIM TO HIS 
COLLEAGUES.  MINDEF SINGHATEH HAD CONSISTENTLY LOST 
INFLUENCE SINCE THE COUP.  SHC ALSO REPORTED THAT THE 
REMAINING PRC MEMBERS -- CHAIRMAN JAMMEH, 
VICE-CHAIRMAN SABALLY, AND MINISTER OF INTERIOR 
HAIDARA -- WERE CONSTANTLY IN CONFLICT WITH ONE 
ANOTHER. 
 
15.  SHC OBSERVED FURTHER THAT THE PRC WAS LOSING 
TOUCH WITH THE GAMBIA NATIONAL ARMY.  HE POINTED OUT 
THAT IN NO OTHER COUP IN AFRICA HAD THE LEADERS MOVED 
INTO THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE (IN CHAIRMAN JAMMEH'S 
CASE) OR LUXURIOUS PRIVATE HOMES (AS WITH THE OTHER 
PRC MEMBERS).  IN ALL OTHER CASES, COUP LEADERS HAD 
REMAINED IN BARRACKS WITH THEIR SOLDIERS.  PRC 
MEMBERS WERE LIVING WELL, BUT THEIR SOLDIERS WERE NOT. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
16.  CHAIRMAN JAMMEH'S BRUSQUE REFUSAL TO DISCUSS THE 
TIMETABLE ISSUE IN THE FACE OF PRESIDENT DIOUF'S 
FORCEFUL VIEWS INDICATE THAT NO CONCERNED PARTY 
OUTSIDE THE GAMBIA HAS THE PRC'S EARS.  CHAIRMAN 
JAMMEH'S EAGERNESS TO BELIEVE THAT THE WORLD BANK 
DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE GAMBIA'S REFUSAL TO MOVE 
TOWARD DEMOCRACY OR ITS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD 
UNDERSCORES HIS BELIEF THAT WITHDRAWAL OF THE 
GAMBIA'S TRADITIONAL DONORS DOES NOT MATTER. 
 
17.  SHC KEBBE IS ALIVE TO SHIFTING POLITICAL 
CURRENTS IN THE GAMBIA AND HIS ANALYSES ARE INFORMED 
BY LONG EXPERIENCE IN THE REGION.  HIS WORRY 
REGARDING RISKS TO WHICH FINMIN DABO IS NOW EXPOSED 
SUGGEST THAT THE PRC'S PURGES ARE LIKELY TO EXTEND TO 
ITS OWN CABINET FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE 
DETENTIONS OF CPTS SARR AND CHAM IN THE WEEK 
FOLLOWING THE COUP. 
 
18.  SHC'S BELIEF THAT PRC MEMBERS WHO REMAIN 
POWERFUL ARE BICKERING AND SELF-ABSORBED MAY 
PREFIGURE A DANGEROUS PERIOD OF PALACE INTRIGUE IN 
THE NEAR FUTURE.  REGARDS. 
 
 
WINTER 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04