The Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA) gathered on July 30 in front of lobbying firm BGR in Washington, D.C. to protest their representation of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. BGR is the firm of former Mississippi governor, Republican National Committee chair and prominent right winger Haley Barbour. The other principles are fellow southern Republicans Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith.
President Jammeh shells out $45,000 every month to BGR in order to whitewash his reputation amongst U.S. lawmakers. While tens of thousands of dollars flow to Washington lobbyists, almost 60 percent of Gambians live on one dollar a day or less. According to DUGA, 40 percent of those depend totally on remittances from the Gambian diaspora.
Besides letting the country wallow in poverty, President Jammeh has cracked down on the LGBT community, encouraging mob violence and even beheadings of LGBT people in Gambia. He has exacerbated the HIV/AIDS crisis by promoting bogus “herbal” remedies and encouraging people to discontinue proven HIV/AIDS medications.
Jammeh also is known for intimidating students and journalists.
DUGA Activists and the ANSWER Coalition distributed leaflets to passers-by in addition to denouncing BGR and President Jammeh in a speak out. The speakers were also broadcast live on an internet radio station from the Gambian diaspora. ANSWER Coalition National Organizer Eugene Puryear noted that Haley Barbour had presided over one of the poorest states in America and is continuing to profit off the exploitation of poor people around the world.