A US lobby firm, Scribe Strategies and Advisors, has been paid about several millions by the new Gambia government to represent its interests in the United States.
In a filing with the Foreign Agents Registration Act unit of the US Department of Justice, Scribe stated that it ‘has been retained by the Government of the Republic of the Gambia for a period of twelve months to communicate with the Trump Administration about the legitimacy of the election of President Adama Barrow and to assure that the will of the Gambian people will be respected’.
To this end, the document continues, Scribe ‘will work closely with His Excellency Sheikh Omar Faye, the Ambassador of the Gambia to the United States, in assessing the political situation in the Republic of the Gambia, in order to effectively promote and restore the rule of law and democratic governance in the Gambia, as well as to work diligently to solidify and expand the Gambia’s productive relationships with the government, businesses, and individuals in the United States’.
“The Gambia faces many challenges after 22 years of virtual dictatorship by a mercurial and impulsive head of state,” said Scribe president Joseph J. Szlavik. “The transfer of power to a freely elected president is a harbinger of a peaceful, prosperous, and stable future for the country known as ‘the smile of Africa.’”
Szlavik added that the troubled political situation in the Gambia “stands in stark contrast to the peaceful and smooth transition from the government of Barack Obama to Donald J. Trump, which has happened every four years since 1797, as acknowledged by President Trump in his inaugural address. Gambia has not been blessed in this manner – yet.”
In months to come, according to the FARA filing, Scribe will provide strategic advice with the aim of “strengthening the Gambia’s general bilateral relations with the United States, its government, and institutions. Scribe will also assist in communicating priority issues in the United States-Gambia bilateral relationship to relevant US audiences, including the US Congress, Executive Branch, news media, businesses, and policy community, including think tanks, advocacy groups, and academic institutions).”
For more than 25 years, Scribe Strategies & Advisors has provided strategic consulting services to overseas clients, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Its clients have included businesses, political parties, and governments in Burundi, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan and Swaziland. In the aftermath of the 1994 coup d’etat led by Yahya Jammeh, Scribe represented former Gambian President Sir Dawda Jawara as he sought to restore democracy and legitimate governance to his country.