The Central Bank of the Gambia has released the newly designed specimens of the new Gambia Bank Notes to replace the Jammeh Bank Notes in current circulation.
To no one’s astonishment, none of the new notes feature both former Presidents, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and Yahya Jammeh, neither do they the current President of the Gambia, Adama Barrow.
Noticeably too, the newly adopted design of the bank notes seem to be of deliberate view and notion of the Central Bank, frowning on the idea having the nation’s currency politicized and images on it attributed to achievements of a singular political party in power or of the ruling government of the day. Hence, ensured featured none of the major infrastructural development achievements of both the former ruling party APRC of 22 years, nor of any reference of political achievements of that of the PPP of 30 years – an administration before Jammeh’s.
Many have always seen such to be nothing but political aggrandizement of the country’s heads of state and the ruling party of the day at the expense of the country. Often, political achievements inked on the nation’s currency – an all year memorabilia of constant campaigning. A cunning strategy for heads of state of the republic or leaders of the ruling party to coerce voters with, as a reminder and sign of gratitude owed to them.
Jammeh was voted out of office on December 1st 2016 despite such investment. The new notes are of the denomination of D5, D10, D20, D50, D100 and D200. Some have already acclaimed identical to the Euro’s design.
Before his removal from office by voters, a constant reminder of the hallmarks and strength of Jammeh’s politics and justification to earn the title of an ‘achiever’ and that of a ‘nation’s transformer’ in contrast to the achievements of the ousted government of Sir Dawda Jawara, he and his supporters often cite, cannot be entirely missed whilst visiting or traveling within all corners of the Gambia. Grandiose images of the former President plastered and featured all over could always be seen where eyes could notice, not only on the nation’s bank notes on circulation, but on government buildings, busy public spaces and places, on private and commercial billboards strategically placed along famous routes with his party’s infrastructural achievements showcased along.
Such ‘politically motivated’ omission by the Central Bank of Jammeh’s face off the new Bank notes obviously not welcomed by pro-Jammeh supporters.
Many, Anti-Jammeh’s regime, argued most of Jammeh’s infrastructure achievements either originally were of Jawara’s and PPP’s ideas or were plans in the works, interrupted by the overthrow of his administration by Jammeh’s AFPRC Junta in July 1994 for Jammeh to work on and claim such as his years later.
Pro-Jammeh supporters brush aside such sentiments as utter nonsense. Reasoning, the PPP Party and Sir Dawda Jawara had 30 years to deliver on promises they failed on, which took Jammeh a few years into office to deliver in record time.
Back in February 2018, Gambia’s Central Bank announced and reminded the country it will begin phasing out currency which featured the head of former leader Yahya Jammeh on it.
“The Central Bank of The Gambia had in November 2017 said it was going to revert to the notes known as ‘family notes’ which were being used before 2015 when the Jammeh notes were introduced.”
Various news portals quoted Central Bank Chief Bakary Jammeh as saying: “The currencies that Jammeh has his heads on, were printed in 2015, and if you check those currencies in circulation from 2014 to 2015, there are those that do not have his head.”
Amongst concerns are of how much the new bank notes will be of cost to the taxpayer, impact of the country’s fragile economy and that, it seems, every new government that comes in place, wants their own design of the Dalasi notes.
Initial social media reaction seems to indicate Gambians that have grown so accustomed to seeing the images of their presidents on the country’s currency, do highly welcome a clean break from such customs.
Especially considering, the horrific human rights record of their former President Yahya Jammeh not to be glorified, recently revealed at the country’s on going Truth Reparation Reconciliation Commissions (TRRC), details of which the country is still grappling with, to instead settle for more subtle images of the country’s famous birds, agricultural and farming heritage, the country’s only river featured in one of the notes, a ferry crossing scenery in another symbolizing a mode of transportation connecting the country’s north and south river banks, as a preferred alternative.
For placing his own face on the Dalasi Bank notes back in 1971, until phased out by Yahya Jammeh, Sir Dawda Jawara, the first President of the Republic for 30 years, earned what many branded a barrage of hypocritical jabs of criticism from Jammeh on doing so, only years later on, for Jammeh himself to also have his face on the Dalasi, which the Central Bank wants to now completely phase out by end of 2018.
Yahya Jammeh is currently on exile in Equatorial Guinea, after refusing to accept the verdict of the voters and attempting to overturn an election loss in December 2016.
A Commissions of Inquiry set up in 2017, to look into the financial dealings and illegally accumulated assets of Yahya Jammeh during his 22 years of Presidency, by President Adama Barrow, has already determined that Jammeh and his aids looted the country’s Central Bank and mismanaged its economy, plunging and tanking it to a 120% debt to GDP by the day he left for Equatorial Guinea.