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Gambian president calls his citizens lazy, threatens to fire them

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address next week. If he really wants to get the cable channels talking, perhaps he should take his cues from Gambia’s just reelected president, a humble fellow who goes by the name of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh. Yahya was just ...

SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address next week. If he really wants to get the cable channels talking, perhaps he should take his cues from Gambia’s just reelected president, a humble fellow who goes by the name of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh. Yahya was just sworn in for his fourth term after a widely criticized election, and he’s not exactly into the hopey-changey stuff:

"You cannot be in your offices every day doing nothing… and at the end of the day you expect to be paid," he said on a televised address on Wednesday.

"This has to stop. You either do your work or leave or go to jail," the president said.

"I will wipe out almost 82% of those in the workforce in the next five years starting this Friday unless they change their attitudes," he said – without elaborating.

Yahya evidently hasn’t decided to soften his tone in the wake of recent turmoil in the Middle East and Africa. He’s told his critics they can "go to hell" and vowed to rule for "one billion years."

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address next week. If he really wants to get the cable channels talking, perhaps he should take his cues from Gambia’s just reelected president, a humble fellow who goes by the name of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh. Yahya was just sworn in for his fourth term after a widely criticized election, and he’s not exactly into the hopey-changey stuff:

"You cannot be in your offices every day doing nothing… and at the end of the day you expect to be paid," he said on a televised address on Wednesday.

"This has to stop. You either do your work or leave or go to jail," the president said.

"I will wipe out almost 82% of those in the workforce in the next five years starting this Friday unless they change their attitudes," he said – without elaborating.

Yahya evidently hasn’t decided to soften his tone in the wake of recent turmoil in the Middle East and Africa. He’s told his critics they can "go to hell" and vowed to rule for "one billion years."

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Gambia