In January of this year, the President - a military officer who staged a successful putsch in 1994 - summoned a number of his acolytes together with foreign diplomats and revealed to them that he had made an extraordinary discovery. He announced that, in addition to asthma, he was now capable of healing Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). On Thursdays -- the President's healing powers are only available to him on that day of the week he says -- the president frequently allows national television to film him as he defeats AIDS: Patients lie flat on their backs as the president whirls around them and mumbles verses from the Holy Book. He slaps green sludge onto their skin, sprinkles liquid from an old Evian bottle over them and gives them a brown broth to drink. A quick fruit snack completes the therapy.
That's it. Thanks to the power of the Holy Book and seven secret herbs this treatment, repeated over the course of several weeks, leads to the patient being cured of the lethal virus "with absolute certainty," as the President says.
So far, one of the few within the country to voice any criticism has been the United Nations spokesperson there. She said there was no proof for the success of the method and that no one should believe they would no longer be infected following treatment by the president. The president was so enraged that he immediately declared the UN representative unwelcome and forced her to leave the country within 48 hours.
Earlier, two high-ranking AIDS educators had already announced their resignation in the capital city.. They explained that, in light of the healing mania, it was impossible to teach the population about the dangers of HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile the President continues to up the ante. In early April he announced he has now acquired the ability to heal diabetes, and that -- just as with asthma -- he needs only five minutes to do so. Not all his subjects believe him -- but quite a few do.
The country is Gambia, and here's the latest from the Daily Observer in Banjul, the capital. (By the way, according to the BBC, in 2006 the media rights organisation Reporters Without Borders described the press freedom situation as "catastrophic". You can maybe detect that the Cuban doctors in Gambia are a little bit uncomfortable with what's going on::
On Sunday, 17th June, 2007, 13 cured HIV/Aids patients were discharged after they have successfully undergone President Jammeh's treatment.
In a landmark speech during the serene ceremony attended by Secretaries of State, Secretary-General and Head of the Civil Service, Permanent Secretaries, Service Chiefs, the medical team that worked with the President, the Alkalo of Kanilai, the CEO of RVTH. President Jammeh began his speech by thanking the Almighty Allah, Dr Malick Njie, and the original medical team who worked with him throughout the period of the treatment of the patients.
President Jammeh also thank the Government and people of Cuba, in particular, the Cuban medical team who worked with him in the initial period of the HIV/Aids treatment programme. President Jammeh reminded the large gathering that today The Gambia's profile in the medical field is among the best in the world, thanks to the contribution of the government and people of Cuba.
He also explained why the Cuban doctors who were participating in the HIV/Aids treatment programme were released of their responsibilities.
The valiant people of Cuba has always been involved in a fight against the big powers.
It was therefore apparent that when the first CD4 counts results were announced proving the success of President Jammeh's treatment, that indeed we have picked up a huge fight globally on behalf of The Gambia and humanity, and since President Jammeh did not want to add another burden to the Republic of Cuba he decided to release our Cuban brothers and sisters whilst we continue this global fight that has been unleashed on us. So it was not because the Cuban doctors are not efficent, or that they are not trusted but the simple reason as indicated by President Jammeh is the desire not to put our friends the Cubans in a fight that is directed against President Jammeh and The Gambia. As His Excellency aptly put it, the principles of humanity dictate that if you have a friend who is trying to help you but is already in a fight, it is more honourable not to involve him in a new fight.
This is the reason why our Cuban sisters and brothers were relieved of their duties and responsibilities in the treatment of HIV/Aids.
This was purely to put them away from the fight that is directed against President Yahya Jammeh. Indeed this was an honourable gesture to protect our Cuban friends from malicious attacks from their enemies and to ensure that Cuba is not dragged in to this new fight directed by the powers against President Jammeh and the Gambian people.
And according to the President's own words, AIDS is being produced to kill Africans:
So those who produce Aids to kill Africans (blacks) are the ones crying loud about doing something about Aids in Africa. But their insincerity has been shown by their brutal attacks on something that scientifically cannot be disputed, that is the results of my treatment. If they are concerned about HIV/Aids and they want to stop it, if they are sincere, the first thing they should have done was to come and say let's see how we can develop it and make it available for humanity.
So we have AIDS itself blighting Africa, the President's healing methods, and his claim that AIDS was created to kill Africans. Depressing, isn't it?
Hat tip: Daniel Drezner