With the defection of more senior officers as Jammeh’s cabinet imploded in its death throes, close aides who were once part of Yahya Jammeh’s inner sanctum have begun giving details of events leading to his reversal of decision to concede December elections.
Less than 24 hours before the legal mandate of the president of one of the last bastions of tyranny in West Africa expired, his cabinet had been hit by a wave of resignations. To extend his rule, the National Assembly had passed a bill imposing a state of emergency for three months, while extending the mandate of the vanquished dictator for the same length of time.
A former senior official in president Jammeh’s cabinet, who resigned and sought sanctuary in Senegal, has been making disturbing revelations of the state of political play in the regime.
Jammeh, he said, accepted results without pressure from any member of his cabinet or security top brass, contrary wide-spread media reports in the immediate aftermath of his decision to accept the results.
“Jammeh made the decision to accept results without pressure from anybody. He was willing to step down at that point, but then some people with vested interests would not have it”, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the interest of further disclosure, he said one one Jammeh’s close military aides, Saul Badjie, was so infuriated over Jammeh’s decision to step down he started weeping uncontrollably .
” His military chiefs Saul Badjie and Musa Savage clearly told Jammeh they faced a bleak future if he stood down.They categorically advised him to stay on because there was nowhere for them to go”.
Then came further pressure from the civilian ministers. The issue of discrepancy in figures from polls in Basse, he said, was magnified and blown out of proportion by Minister of Tourism, Benjamin Roberts, Minister of Works, Construction and Infrastructure , Balla Garba Jahumpa and Minister of health Omar Sey.
“Those are the ministers who started the argument about electoral fraud and even went to Basse on a so-called fact-finding mission. Jammeh would have left but he was being used by those people for their selfish interests and now they are abandoning him at the last minute”, concluded the former senior officer who pleaded for anonymity.
Written by Sainey Darboe