16 August 2006

Gambia: 'President Jammeh Oks Gambianization of Moroccans,' Says Foreign Ministry Official

Highly placed sources at the Gambian Departments of State for Foreign Affairs and Interior as well as, the Immigration Deparment's Passport Desk report of a massive Gambianization policy of Moroccans that is allegedly sanctioned by President Jammeh.

The scheme that began two years ago, seemed to have reached its crescendo when one of the beneficiaries used his ill-gotton diplomatic passport, travelled abroad and applied for political asylum in a western country.According to our unassailable sources, that western country is now putting its act together and has since notified the Gambian authorities of the utterly criminal nature of the exercise.

A highly placed source at Foreign Affairs reports of a systemic pattern of issuing Gambian diplomatic passports enmasse to foreigners especially, Moroccans particularly those related or connected to President Jammeh's wife, Madam Zainab Jammeh, a native Moroccan."What bonafide Gambians cannot get is what is given to Moroccans carte blanch" an irritated senior official remarked."The decision to issue diplomatic passports to foreigners has the blessings of those at State House" says a a source at the Immigration Passport Office.Explains the source, "what is more irritating is that these arabs do not even fill out application forms because we know they are non-Gambians;we only receive photos, names and dates of birth and we make them diplomatic passports".

According to a source at Foreign Affiars, issueing diplomatic passports to non-Gambians was in practice since Jawara's days but those were meant to lure potential investors with good repute to have access to the Gambian market.However,argues the source, what obtains now is totally different because most of these diplomatic passport holders are "miskeens" with little or no basic education who are out to hustle in the West.According to this source, the probabality that money is involved is greater than the impossibility. "I doubt if all these is out of random kindness, I really have my reservations" the source said.

Asked if the Western Embassies in Banjul could not distinguish between Gambians and non-Gambians the source said "if the Head of State is travelling, he does not go for an interview,we usually send a file bearing the names of those travelling with him.So really,the process is not as rigorous as it is for the ordinary Gambian and since most of them are Muslims the names do not differ a great deal from normal Gambian names. Most of the time, it is the last name that tells you that "X" may not be Gambian".

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