YNaija Analysis: Dear Pres. Jammeh, Africa has no time for your shenanigans

by Mark Amaza

When Gambians went to the polls early December 2016 to choose between their long-time leader Yahya Jammeh and opposition candidate Adama Barrow, the whole world had already concluded that Jammeh was going to use every trick in the playbook to extend his 22-year rule in the small West African nation. After all, he had prevented foreign election observers from the polls and shut down telephone networks, not to mention his past antecedents on clamping down on critics of his repressive government.

That was why the world was shocked when Jammeh conceded elections and accepted the results. It meant that Africa was one dictator less and had taken a step further in being democratic. But that honeymoon was short-lived – he has since rescinded his decision and wants to have another poll held, saying the first was fraught with irregularities.

Tomorrow will be the day that Jammeh is to hand over to Barrow and everything possible must be done to ensure that he does not stay a day more in office.

It is excellent to note that the African Union has shown some spine in this matter by saying that they will not recognize Jammeh as President of The Gambia should he refuse to vacate the office by tomorrow.

Also, the decision by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to put all options on the table, including the possibility of using military force to make sure that the results stand is one we support and agree with.

It appears that Jammeh has been so obsessed with his political power that he has not noticed how the continent around him has changed – Africa is no longer that continent where an individual will arrogate to himself absolute power to rule his nation indefinitely. Elections are increasingly taking place and they are getting freer and fairer. It is no longer breaking news to see incumbent presidents lose elections: former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and John Mahama of Ghana both lost elections in recent times and did the right thing in accepting defeat.

Although the continent still has some way to go in terms of democratic openness with countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe, Eritrea and Gabon still run by sit-tight rulers, the people are becoming increasingly impatient with being denied their right to choose who leads them and how they are being led. It is why even in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the moment, the decision of Joseph Kabila not to hold elections this year are being met with massive protests.

If Jammeh cannot learn from the good examples set for him by Jonathan and Mahama, he will do well to learn from how former Ivorien president Laurent Gbagbo ended – in pretty much the same manner, he refused to accept the results of an election he had clearly lost, plunged his country into a civil war and was at the end captured and is now on trial for his crimes at the International Criminal Court in office.

President Jammeh should not think that his minuscule army of 1500 people can withstand the firepower of a military force put together by ECOWAS members. He should not be strong-headed to go down this route and not just plunge his country into war and chaos, but end up as another Gbagbo.

The Gambian people have spoken clearly and loudly – they do not want him anymore. The best thing he can do is to respect their decision and hand over to Barrow. While he may think that he has the machinery of the state and his military behind him, the Gambian people have the whole continent behind them and ready to enforce their desire.

Comments (0)

  1. is your brother devils you people no what you are doing in this world, don’t deserve people we no your plans.

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