One year after Jammeh’s 22-year era of dictatorship

Friday, January 19, 2018

Today January 19, 2018 marks exactly one year since the swearing in of President Barrow as The Gambia’s new president, ending 22 years of ex-president Yahya Jammeh’s rule.

President Jammeh lost the elections on December 2, 2016 but refused to step down with claims that the elections were not fair and there should be re-run. However, Mr. Jammeh was forced to leave power by the intervention of ECOWAS troops known as ECOMIG.

Jammeh’s 22 years of dictatorship ended on the 18 January 2017, according to the constitution following December 1 Presidential Election, but he left the soils of The Gambia on the 21 January 2017 for Equatorial Guinea where he is currently living in exile with his family and close aids.

Jammeh, is believed to have lost the 2016 elections because of his arrogant attitude towards the majority tribe in the country – Mandinka and his sidelining of the Christians by declaring The Gambia as an Islamic state which troubled the whole Christian community and Muslim sat large. Some believed that the burning of the APRC Bureau in August 2016 with thousands of voters’ cards of people mainly from the Casamance area, the closing of the border with Senegal a day before the election which prevented the Casamance people with Gambia’s voters cards from entering the country to participate in the voting exercise and the spot counting for the first time in The Gambia all contributed to Jammeh’s losing the 2016 elections.

As Gambians, we should reflect and thank Almighty Allah for the end of the 22 years of gross human rights violation like killings, torturing, disappearing of people, and no freedom of expression. Jammeh’s regime of 22 years rule was also characterised by nepotism, looting government funds to do all kinds of business – like selling sand, stones, rams, cows, fuel, newspapers, pampers, uniforms, vegetables, meat to name a few.

Jammeh, during his tenure sacked several ministers, permanent secretaries, civil servants. The civil service was destabilised by always hiring and firing, making the service inefficient. Ministers, civil servants and heads of parastatals worked with fear of being sacked or jailed anytime. Jammeh was known for using his “electric broom” to sack and hire anytime. People were afraid to discuss political affairs of the country, and nobody dares to critise his government or policies.

Jammeh was earning D170, 000 per month but he was controlling and taking monies of the parastatals and government companies like Social Security, GPA, Gamtel/Gamcel, NAWEC as well as the Central Bank.

During his tenure there were 3000 ghost workers uncovered last year through audit report.

He owned four aircrafts and looted millions of US dollars and dalasis. He had 131 compounds in The Gambia plus another one in the USA according to informed sources. He also had  88 bank accounts and 14 companies.

During his tenure, The Gambia was isolated by the international community and Senegal that he hated most.

Despite all odds, Jammeh’s administration brought the first TV station in The Gambia in 1995, the University of The Gambia (UTG) which was established in 1999, making it the only university in the country then. He built several schools, health centres and two big hospitals, roads, bridges, sending people to Mecca and Rome and giving scholarships to students.

Now that Jammeh’s era has ended, a New Gambia is born. With all what Jammeh has done he should be brought to justice to be tried for economic crime, murder and other criminal activities.

“Despite all odds we have emerged as one people and one country.”
Yahya Jammeh