|President Elect Adama Barrow|
Those who are blaming statements by the Gambian opposition as the main reason why Yahya Jammeh has decided to reject the Gambian election results, may not know the true nature of Jammeh. Oppositions statements of a truth and reconciliation type commission in The Gambia are just an unfortunate excuse.
|Professor Alhaji AJJ Jammeh|
Since the victory of Adama Barrow as President-Elect of the Gambia and the beautiful concession speech by President Jammeh, some of us have been cautious in our praise for Jammeh. We were just not convinced that this fellow was among those who will easily let go of power without a fight. It was good we waited.
Yahya Jammeh may have done a lot of progressive things in the Gambia over the last 22 years. He built schools, hospitals, a university, a new airport, roads, and so on. But at the core of his being, he is a brutal dictator who believes that it is his divine destiny to rule the people of his small country forever. He will stop at nothing, as he has always done in the past to hang on to power.
A very traditionsl man who goes around in flowing gowns, amulets and a sword, Yahya Jammeh publicly and shamelessly asserts that he has the herbal remedies to cure AIDS, asthma and other incurable diseases. He falls into the same category of past African leaders like Lauren Gbagbo and Blaise Campaore, power hungry tyrants who believe that the destinies of their countries are intertwined with their individual destinies. Men who are convinced that only they have the ability to solve the problems of their countries. Nobody else can.
|Billion Year Leader|
What makes Yahya Jammeh even more dangerous is the fact that this is a half-literate individual who has somehow convinced himself that he is somehow a champion of the African struggle, the Fidel Castro of West Africa. Jammeh rails against colonialism, against Western interference in African affairs and sees the country's opposition as agents of the West, while viewing himself as a symbol of neocolonial resistance. Recently he labeled the opposition in his country as vermins he will bury nine feet deep.
Yahya Jammeh's ego has been fed over the last 22 years by brutality and the docile nature of the Gambian people. Unlike other West Africans who are quick to take to the streets and challenge their governments even at great personal risk, Gambians prefer to vent their anger in Internet chat rooms, social media and around small pots of boiling "ataya," a local brew. Jammeh knows this tendency of his people and has always kept them in check with the occasional display of military might and the use of verbal and physical threats against the opposition.
Slightly more than a year or so ago, a group of Gambians living in the diaspora decided that they were fed up with Jammeh. Buoyed by all the talk of how Gambians were fed up with their tyrannical leader and ready to get rid of him, they acquired arms and attacked the Gambian State House when the president was out of the country. They were unsuccessful, as they were met with stiff resistance by forces loyal to Jammeh. The larger population was too scared of Jammeh to join the few plotters. Jammeh used the attempt to further tighten his control on the country's security apparatus.
Just this year, a leading opposition figure in the country, arrested over participation in a protest, died at the hands of Jammeh's agents. The leading opposition party leader in the country Ousainou Darboe decided to lead a protest of party members demanding more information surrounding the death of their comrade. Darboe, a lawyer and revered figure in the country for more than two decades, was arrested together with some of his party members and jailed for three years. Apart from complaining on the Internet, Gambians did not protest this action until Lawyer Darboe was freed on bail last week following the results of the elections that has now been rejected by the tyrannical Jammeh.
For the 22 years that he's been in power, Jammeh has had some of the worst record of human rights in West Africa, even though the people of his country are largely peaceful. Members of the military are routinely accused of coups and eliminated. Journalists are routinely harassed, arrested or jailed. Students are attacked for protesting Jammeh's policies and members of the opposition parties are frequently arrested and harassed by members of Jammeh's ubiquitous intelligence network.
However, the rejection of the results of a very transparent election that he had earlier accepted, giving bogus excuses, should be the last straw. The governments of Senegal, Nigeria and other Ecowas member states should no longer allow this brute to attend regional conferences and should work with the people of The Gambia to get rid of this monster once and for all.
Just recently, sensing a growing tide against him in the Gambia, Jammeh withdrew from the International Criminal Court, claiming a bias against Africans. If Jammeh decides to challenge the mandate of his people, the international community should treat him like Gbagbo and the other tyrants who do not know when the writing is on the wall. He should face the ICC.
For years, Yayah Jammeh has convinced himself that the tiny military in his small country can challenge the world. We are calling on the Gambian military not to follow this man down the reckless path towards which he is headed.
Gambia is a small country and almost everybody knows everybody. The reason why just a day ago Jammeh promoted so many people in the military to senior positions was a last ditched effort to have the military do his dirty work for him. The Gambia military should realize that they are working for the people of their country and not for a deranged megalomaniac who would stop at nothing to hang on to his billion year delusion of power.
The international community must reject the latest moves by this brute and every pressure must be brought to bear upon him to leave the people of this friendly nation in peace and just go away. He can go to his village or to Morocco. He just needs to leave the people to celebrate their moment in the sun.