Yahya Jammeh must go now!

JammehDemocratically rejected by his compatriots, President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, like the proverbial foolish dog destined to be lost for good, still refuses to be deterred from his determination to challenge and possibly reverse the outcome of the December 1, 2016 election. This is sad and unacceptable!

Having lost to Adama Barrow, the consensus candidate of United Democratic Party, a coalition of opposition parties, Jammeh has no other option than to respect the will of the people and vacate office.

Interestingly, his party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) has filed a petition at the Supreme Court where only the country’s chief justice, Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, from Nigeria, is available, the outgoing president having hounded other jurists out of office, into hiding or exile.
Besides the fact that his spurious petition arrived too late behind the10-day time limit allowed for such election complaint and there is simply no court to hear the already late case, Jammeh’s plan to prevent a change of leadership in his country by using the very court that he once treated shabbily and ignored for long cannot but fail.

Smarting from Supreme Court decisions that went against his government, he sacked some judges, jailed one and has refused for over a year to appoint judges to fill the four vacancies to properly and legally constitute the apex court. Effort to get judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone at short notice is not likely,  at least in respect of  Nigeria, to succeed firstly because  of the work load  of the judges and secondly because  of the timing of the request. Mr. Jammeh’s scheming is simply odious and must not be allowed to succeed.

The group of mediators comprising West African leaders, namely Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  and  former Ghanaian President John Mahama have for weeks sought to persuade Jammeh to take an honourable exit but  without success. Jammeh keeps blowing hot and, asserting his megalomaniacal instincts under the pretext of defending the sovereignty of The Gambia, says ‘I will not be intimidated by any power in this world,’ claiming that all he wants is ‘to make sure justice is done.’ In veiled reference to a possible military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to enforce the electoral wish of the people of The Gambia, the 52 year-old former lieutenant asserted: ‘I am a man of peace but will defend my country…courageously, patriotically, and win.’ 

On this, he has reportedly been promised ‘unflinching loyalty and support of The Gambian Armed Forces’ through the head of the army, Ousman Badjie. On the other hand, however, many high ranking public officials in his government have opted out of his dangerous game. Minister of Information Sheriff Bojang considered the intransigence of his principal an attempt to subvert the expressed will of the electorate. ‘The Gambia has decided and we must accept and respect this decision,’ he said, and abandoned Jammeh’s ship. Alieu Monar Njai, chairman of The Gambia Electoral Commission, who presided over the election that Jammeh lost has left the country because of fear for his safety.

If in truth the only reason for Mr. Jammeh’s volte face, after accepting the outcome of the election and even congratulating the winner, is to make sure that  justice is done, this defeated president should  know that there is no justice higher than the will of the people exercised in a free and fair election that rejected him and opted for a new leader, a new political party, in sum, a new beginning for the country after 22 years of  authoritarian rule. That is the highest form of justice in any system of government! If, in truth, Jammeh is a man of peace, he will do nothing to disturb the peace of The Gambia as he appears determined to do by clinging to power.

Justice demands that he does everything within his human and presidential powers to facilitate a smooth change of baton so that The Gambians can get on with their lives. And if in truth his desire is to defend his country ‘courageously, patriotically, and win,’ there can be no better way to demonstrate this than to allow the result of the December 1, 2016 election to stand.  That is what defines the courage and the patriotism of a leader and a winner. 

Jammeh’s current behaviour is a tragedy for him and an embarrassment for Africa. He should not be allowed to give Africa a bad name in leadership and governance any further. The road taken, or not taken, by this dictator will, in many ways, define The Gambia, the West African sub-region, and Africa as a whole.  He, therefore, has the choice of a soft-landing that may include a peaceful retirement for him and excuse from an otherwise assured disgraceful trial at home or elsewhere for his sins in office.

Of course, Jammeh’s current disposition appears to call for military action to force him out but this will cost avoidable human casualties as well as scarce financial resources that the participating countries can ill afford. He has already demonstrated to the world, again, that some African leaders are still incapable of true leadership and the self-discipline it demands. 

Jammeh has only one sane and safe course of action to take in the next few days:  respect the will of The Gambians, ensure a peaceful transfer of power to their popularly elected president and go in peace. 

In this article:
Adama BarrowYahya Jammeh


10 Comments
  • Efeturi Ojakaminor

    African leaders must come forward now and use whatever means is available to them to throw out this bad face of politics. He should be tried for treason. This will serve as a lesson to all who would want to turn back the hand of the clock in Africa. In the past few years Africa has witnessed the smooth transfer of power to those who won elections. This usurper is trying to bring all that to a halt. We can no longer entertain cretins who think they can stay in power without the consent of the people,

    • Marcus Ijele

      How do you interpret inclusion of treason in this matter? It is not every action that breaches peace is treasonable. It is easy to adjudge the man evil, but can Buhari say he is better than the man? Did Buhari not take over Government by intimidation and promise of civil unrest? Every threat Buhari sent out before he became President is worse than what the man is doing today. By the way, he has gone to court. Would it not be better to allow the court to oust him by judicial process? Before confronting him with bullets and bombs, the consequences should be first considered.If he had sat without taking a legal option to nullify the election,forcing him out could be seen to be reasonable, but since he has gone to court, expressing his dis-satisfaction with the out come of the election which was Independently said to be not free and fair, should not the so called Buhari and those he is leading expedite the court process to determine who becomes the next President? All the ingredients of the election should be tabled in the court. While it is unarguable that he has over stayed, yet, his exit should be with transparency. It is not be merely because he has been there for long. Buhari should not expect every body to be Jonathan because even Buhari will not do what he wants this man to do. The African Leaders have option of not allowing a war that will consume innocent people and allowing the court to either remove the man or keep him. Buahri is silencing oppositions parties, does that not point to the same character of Jammeh? If election is held to day in Nigeria, who can believe holistically that Buhari will joyfully hand over if he loses? He will not. APC, is never happy leaving the states they lost to stay in peace. Jammeh is doing what Buhari has in mind. Forget the threats from Buhari. He is a cheat. He is only doing all this to create the impression that the giant of Africa is talking. His silence would have betrayed his plan for 2019.

      • Collins

        Just what are you saying? There’s a problem in Gambia yet you are trying to transfer all of it all to Nigeria just so as to make a point. Nobody has any qualms with him going to court. Let the courts decide. The only issue is that even as the courts are doing their work it’s expected that the handing over date remains sacrosanct as is the case the world over including Nigeria. Gambia nor Jammeh cannot be different.
        Your problem is Buhari this Buhari that, good thing is that the ECOWAS secretariat is right here in Nigeria simply go ask them why Buhari was included as one of the mediators on Gambia and spare us the pain of your constant whining. People like you want to rewrite recent history and make it look like some of us were not in this country when Buhari won his election free and square with our own gentle, amiable and sweet GEJ calling him to concede victory even before the final tally. Go and ask any knowledgeable person, even at PDP secretariat and you will be told that as early as November/December 2014 it was very obvious that they will lose the elections hence the 3 months postponement they literally forced INEC to make which gave them the grace for a massive money-induced campaign that at least gave them a fighting chance. Yet you are here making noise.
        Meanwhile the despot in Gambia must handover on the appointed date. No amount of projecting the supposed sins of Buhari into the issue of Gambia will convince anyone. Failure to handover will constitute an act of war and you know what? Nobody, not you, not Jammeh nor his ragtag army of boys scouts would stop his butt from being slapped. Hard.

        • 4ustta

          Thank you, my brother.Marcus Ijele has an issue to settle with Buhari. He should not mix-up the two cases.

        • Marcus Ijele

          Thanks for the quarrel. Jonathan because he remains a man of his words that his Political ambition, not even the desire to be the President is large and important enough to cause the spilling of a pound of blood of any Nigerian, A godly disposition that your bull and dog street blood spilling war monger Buhari can never emulate. Jonathan did not yield because Buhari won fairly but in keeping with his nature as a good man. It is a necked truth that even animals in the North were counted for Buhari as voters. Records are there. You can go ahead with your natural tendency for quarrels, while you forgot that APC, postponed Edo Election to further perfect their electoral Terror acts. When it was obvious that Ondo election should have been postponed to enable a conducive atmosphere and even and just participation, APC in criminal conspiracy with INEC rejected it. How could you point at the postponed Presidential election suggested by PDP, as a plot to effect rigging and became dumb and blind to what happened in other areas prompted illicitly by APC? Jammeh said he no longer accepts the results of an election he previously accepted, and went to court against that election,should he forced to step out or should he be threatened with war? It should not be. Let neither him nor the acclaimed winner take the Presidential Villa. Let there be an Interim President till all cases are resolved by the court and winner emerges. Your President is involved in mediating not because he is fit, because he is not such a peaceful man, but because your country heads the the body for now. What moral standard does he have in solving other country’s problem when he can not peacefully solve Niger Delta issue nor Biafra issue? What peace can a trouble maker offer? How does he know how to make peace? Jammeh may remain unyielding because of Buhari’s involvement. How pot can take pride in calling kettle black; how does it sound in your ear calling Jammeh a despot from a country under a tyrant called Buhari?

      • Efeturi Ojakaminor

        Thanks for the enlightenment. I am not versed in law and therefore concede to your objection to my use of the word treason. But then I read such observation like “Buhari should not expect every body to be Jonathan.” Am I in dialogue with a democrat? I am not a supporter of Buhari. Yet I cannot but admit that he won the election that brought him to office. Besides, Buhari is not the point at issue. Let us try to be objective in these matters and see thing for what they are. My regards and thanks for not being abusive.

        • Marcus Ijele

          God bless you. Sorry for any wrong word I used. Stay fine.

      • 4ustta

        Should going to court prevent the president-elect from being sworn-in? You are taking your hatred for Buhari too far!

        • Marcus Ijele

          I should. When he has Bugharianu every thing. Petrol, gas kerosene, food items, every thing is in Buharism. He wants to help a fellow Moslem.

  • Collins

    The man said he’s not going anywhere and is willing to fight everybody yet you are here blowing grammar. He wants to fight, that is courage. He even carries a sword to prove it so it looks like that’s the only way he would leave power. So let him have his wish!

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