I have always been one to reserve judgment about the Legacy of Yaya Jammeh of The Gambia. But no more! He is the megalomaniac and erstwhile President of the smallest country in Mainland Africa, until December 2 of 2016 when he was ‘soundly’ and ‘clearly’ defeated by a little known Real Estate Developer name Adama Barrow (candidate of a Coalition of Opposition Parties). I wrote articles years before detailing how I think he was able to consolidate power over the years while adeptly sidelining and/or neutralizing his co-conspirators in the overthrow of his predecessor Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, thereby, averting any serious challenge to his 22yr reign of quiet terror over the smiling coast of Africa (The Gambia). I wrote these in a series of articles namely: President Jammeh; The Strongman of West Africa in Focus (parts I, II and III) and The Gambia’s Political Dilemma ( my take on the state of the opposition political parties post 2011 presidential election)some of which were published by www.freedomnewspaper.com, www.modernghana.com , www.jollofnews.com and www.dailynews.gm.
His rule was characterized by most observers as a mixture of over-zealous authoritarianism clothed in self mysticism and a decent level of development compare to an almost total neglect of the socio-economic development needs of The Gambia by the previous government of his predecessor. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and ECOWAS were his most fervent critics, especially regarding his blatant abuse of human rights and the suppression of dissent. For so long, most Gambians living in Gambia were terrorized and could not express in any meaningful way, their opposition to his abuses of executive authority; including the Opposition. Some political parties were banned, the right to free speech and assembly severely restricted. The state media was used primarily to showcase Jammeh’s grandeur and so-called benevolence. Much of the free media was decimated and journalists seen to be critical either arrested, disappeared or killed. The only serious challenge came from the diaspora media and activists who never relented in informing their countrymen of Yaya Jammeh’s follies.
So, one could forgive why it was greeted with totally shocked and I must argue skepticism when he willingly and almost cheerfully conceded defeat to President Elect Adama Barrow on national television. There were varying reactions from Gambians at home and abroad to his public concession. Some claimed he was pressured by his most trusted Generals in the Armed Forces and others said he did not have a choice in the matter since the results were so clear. Jammeh himself touted that the Gambian electoral system and process is rigged proof and the most transparent in the world. Whatever the reasons for his concession and eventual revocation of that concession has very little significance to most Gambians.
The indisputable fact remains, he lost the just concluded elections on points of law and he does not have the constitutional or moral authority to declare it “null and void”. Only the Electoral Commission (I.E.C) has that authority with the direction of the Supreme Court of The Gambia. This only occurs if and only the Supreme Court declares a ruling in favor of an injured party to election, in this case Yaya Jammeh.
I must make it very clear here that I respect Yaya Jammeh’s right to change his mind and dispute the outcome of the very election he largely oversaw as chief patron and financier through the proper constitutional channels (i.e. The Courts), but he DOES NOT have the right to stage a disgraceful constitutional coup. His attempt to subvert the WILL of the Gambian people and bring unwarranted political uncertainty is treasonous and gravely jeopardized the National Security of The Gambia and the Senegambia region. This attempted action is seriously putting to doubt his own prospect of quietly settling in his home village of Kanilai as a retired statesman and farmer.
I called upon the Gambian people to remain calm and steadfast in their opposition to this unprovoked, unconstitutional declaration by the now disgraced and illegitimate Ruler of our peaceful country. I also call upon the international community including our brotherly neighbor Senegal to firmly stand behind the duly elected leader of our republic, H.E Adama Barrow, his government in the making and the Gambian people during this sensitive and difficult transition.
My hope is that his conscience or love of Country and/or those trusted Generals who might have prevailed on him to concede defeat initially will eventually get him to see reason and not burn down to the ground any hopes of a peaceful transfer of Power which will undoubtedly usher in a new era of political peace and prosperity for the Gambia. Lest he and his accomplices will be the biggest losers in this charade.
Written By Anonymous (The Patriot)