I want to share my shock and alarm of out-going president Yahya Jammeh’s utterances at the election outcome utterances on national television during his meetings with delegation from the African Bar Association. I could say he is a bigot, impulsive, narcissistic and unbalanced as he often appeared in the election campaign, and that his policies and actions are extreme as we feared.
Throughout the past years and more, I have worried about Yahya Jammeh in a way I never worried about him. Certainly, no out-going president has never uttered in such authoritarian and demagogic tones, exploiting prejudices and fear in the quest for personal power. I feared for the health and safety of our democracy. I fear for the people in our society who are vulnerable and different. I fear for the rule of law. But the antidote to fear and horror is not withdrawal. Neither can it merely be righteous indignation. We need to understand why he lost the election and people who are not bigots did not vote for him.
President Jammeh ruled with an iron fist appeared to behave in a manner driven by a hidden, extreme, and sometimes irrational fear of what fate might befall him. This behavior of Yahya who wield far-reaching, real world power, cultural and political environment that fed his grand delusional self-importance is risky for Gambia. Yahya suffers from excessive anxiety; with paranoid fears of citizen uprising, persecution and assassination People’s Power must rise and defend our democracy from a narcissist.
Yahya Jammeh fears and anxiety could be liken to Pharaoh’s dreams in chapter 41 of Genesis, fearing being overthrown. We need to summon courage in the face of what will likely be abuse of power accompanied by threats and intimidation of opponents. And we need to never lose faith in our democracy and its core values. I feared the next five years could be a test our democracies of degree we have not seen in over fifty years.
Written By Alagi Yorro Jallow