Gambia, Yemen & Lesotho among 7 Countries to Lose UN General Assembly votes Over Arrears

8 African countries including, The Gambia, Central African Republic and Sao-Tome are part of a list of countries on the verge of having their voting rights in the UN General assembly stripped off for their failure to pay arrears owed to the body.

According to the United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujerric, seven countries are so far behind in paying their dues and thus will be losing their voting privileges in the 193-member General Assembly, including Venezuela and Lebanon

Mr. Dujerric was speaking on Friday, when he that three other countries — Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia — are also in arrears by the assembly decided in October that they can retain their vote until September, but not all were handed grace, as countries like Central African Republic, Gambia, Lesotho, Tonga and Yemen will have their voting rights blocked.

An estimated 4.5 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015, escaping hyperinflation, failing services, a lack of security and political division in a country that was once among the richest in Latin America because of its vast oil reserves.

Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic and financial crisis in decades and has seen increased electricity cuts. Protesters took to the streets in October over proposed new taxes but are now calling for an end to the rule of the political elite that has run the country since the 1975-90 civil war ended.

Political instability and wide-spread corruption in The Gambia has shaken the country’s economy badly, the 2016 political deadlock that saw the country narrowly evade war, and a series of high profile demonstrations, some of which led to clashes between authorities and protesters has affected the Tourism sector in which the country largely depends upon. These and the relentless strive of the little country’s workforce embarking on the dangerous “back-way” journey that has claimed hundreds of Gambian lives over the past decades, has left the country unable to pay several millions of debts from the world bank and other sources.

According to The Guardian, in the official budget, most of the country’s money is spent on defense, security and foreign affairs. Education and health are lower priorities.

Off the books, the situation is even worse. The Gambia was heavily criticized in the US’s recent report on fiscal transparency, which said that the government had off-budget accounts supporting military and intelligence spending that “were not subject to adequate oversight or audit”.

“There are a lot of abuse of resources, abuse of power,” Jobarteh said. “That’s huge frustration and, practically, people have not seen tangible socio-economic change in their lives.”

Between security spending and the high level of debt inherited from Jammeh, there is little to invest in building Gambia’s economy, which Barrow said was his top priority in an interview with the Guardian shortly after taking office. New concessional loans are making the country even more indebted.

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