Yahya Jammeh having acknowledged he lost the elections on December 2nd ,what virtually all Gambians and rational observers already knew, and then promised to take specific steps to hand over power to President Elect Adama Barrow on live TV, but has since ratchet back and repudiates the results in its entirely with un-nuanced arguments .
Not only that, he followed through with a gracious victory speech, including a conciliatory overture to his critics. So where are we now two weeks later? On uncertain ground -because of Yahya Jammeh’s is determined to make a poisonous situation all around what would have been a smooth transition process with his hyper-macho threats of annulling the results. The dictator now is sharpening his rhetorical machetes and wrapping an extra loop of barbed wire around the door way to the transition process. In some respects, we’re witnessing a national-level repeat of Friday July 1994 coupe de’tate’.
Contrary to Yahya Jammeh’s post-election spin to denounce the validity of the election, the great irony is that—by definition, IEC Alieu M Njie has made it categorically clear on an interview with BBC “The election results were correct, nothing will change that”. It is foolish and irresponsible to rain scorn on that, but Dictator Yahya Jammeh doesn’t want to hear that—because to do so is not in his nature. He wants to put up such a power struggle to cripple President Elect Adama Barrow and his team agenda to see a New Gambia. But eventually, want to set up the narrative and have a way out on his own terms or something close to making him walk free from his record and crimes against the Gambians. That’s one of the many ironies I guess but I can predictably say his demands will be too great to paper over indefinitely. If Yahya Jammeh is smart, though, he’ll not wait as long as he can before handing power because he risk exposing that fact.
As for Gambians, there was nothing shocking about a malicious and incompetent Yahya Jammeh’s behavior because after 23 years, even a little child knows about his breathtaking record of mendacity and flip-flops on everything. However, the world have to know that — as unmourned and erratic dictator Yahya Jammeh is , he likes to have a very high opinion of himself and a tendency to reject evidence that contradicts his opinion, combined with an eagerness to find corroboration of his self-regard wherever possible. He is not a man of his word and has a deadly chameleon character. The psychedelic fantasy of irregularities he is trying to put out there is not credible as he claims. Also the dis-positive narrative about the IEC chairman is the kind of stuff we expect from little children playing on a playground. Dictator Yahya Jammeh refuses to budge on his unfounded claims and won’t grapple with the fact that he lost fair and square even though the electoral laws were all favorable to him.
The big question is whether the world can take charge quickly enough to make a sufficient difference— by talking sense into Yahya Jammeh to hand over power immediately. In that sense, this is the time for intense diplomacy because we do not have the luxury of waiting for Yahya Jammeh to destabilized Gambia and the sub region. Its beyond me a man who held power for 22 years and a billionaire in fact, is still desperately pursuing excuses in an effort to overturn the election and presumably — eventually to reject President Elect Adama Barrow’s legitimacy. What is his insidious agenda all about and coloring everything with lies to deceive Gambians? Reports are out there he wants to organize a forceful solidarity match. Seriously? Yahya Jammeh is just controversial figure who just wants to die as he lived — praised by useful idiots.
UN and African heads of state can help speed up the calendar for the transition and sent a strong signal to the regime — to respect the will of the Gambian people. Gambian military, too, have a crucial responsibility to protect the nation instead allowing Yahya Jammeh to used them for his own personal endeavor. Everyone in Gambia knows that — Yahya Jammeh does not serve the interest of the country, he ruled Gambia as a nation of servants, often cruelly, while making obscene profits for himself and his family. I just don’t get it. As much as Yahya Jammeh wants to cling onto power, one has to wonder what more can he do for Gambia? Absolutely nothing! Because there is no possible chance he can balance out the load of horrors with anything good he does. After a lifetime of being a President as a result of counting a coup in July 1994, he lost the idea of why he cannot simply understand that Gambians do not want him anymore. In some respects, we’re witnessing a national-level repeat of July 1994 all over again like I mentioned earlier. From any angle or perspective, the coalition’s victory was arguably the most improbable electoral event of our lifetimes— because the dictator lost and refuses to hand over power. Not only that, he followed through with a gracious victory speech, including a conciliatory overture to his critics.
Yahya Jammeh should respect the will of the Gambian people and his party should keep their promises. Their polling agents agreed to all the results and pen their signature on each constituency results to validate the whole process. Despite him putting out an incomplete smile with a stiff upper-lips, as much he wants to openly moot about people cursing out his mom and rolling their eyes on his pictures, whether he likes it or not, Gambians do not want to go the elections with him— nor want any power sharing with him. That’s where the negotiations should start and it should end with him leaving our country. It is impossible to weave dictatorship with democratic agenda as oil and water do not mix. The pressures to get it right this time by UN, quickly, are enormous because quite frankly, we are tired of Yahya Jammeh. Suffice to say, it is fairly ridiculous that Yahya Jammeh dismantle the Supreme Court since May 2015 — when he propitiously sacked Justice Gibou Janneh and Justice Raymond Sock from the bench. This is a fact as rightly sited by the Gambian Bar Association. The place has been vacant eve r since. There for he does not have the constitutional mandate to fill it with mercenaries to give him an edge or silver lining to hang on around the pit of mud he finds himself.
Last but not the least, according to The Gambian constitution Chapter V sub section 49 under the sub heading “Challenge to election of a President”. It states “Any registered political party which has participated in the Presidential election or an independent candidate who has participated in such an election may apply to the Supreme Court to determine the validity of the election of a President by filling a petition within ten days of the declaration of the result of the election”. This proves Yahya Jammeh has no case or business of annulling the election results. Firstly, the language is very clear his party has to file the petition. Secondly, it has to be done within 10 day after declaration of the results. I think we can skip a few steps for that paragraph and just say we are done with him. He needs to pack and leave by our contemporary standards. That means, leaving empty handed as he came in the country.
By Habib Drammeh