He did it in 1994, when he forcefully removed a Democratically elected Government of Sir Dawda Jawara without regards to the constitution of the Gambia. He claimed the illegal overthrow was peaceful and was necessary to rectify the wrongs of the former regime. He went on to arrest, torture, victimized and killed innocent citizens to strengthen himself in power. Former regime officials were subjected to all kinds of torture, humiliation and public parading to strip them of their dignity and assets just to satisfy Yahya Jammeh and his regime.
In 1997 he orchestrated the house of parliament to draft a bill to grand unconditional amnesty to all military junta who took part in the illegal overthrow of the regime. Mr. Jammeh while asking for Amnesty for himself and his military men, then went about arresting the same people, prosecuting them and sending citizens to jail without due process. Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay was burned to asses in his official vehicle without a single commission to investigate the heinous crimes committed on that faithful night. Until today no one can tell you who killed Ousman Koro Ceesay and along the way scores of Gambian citizens have been subjected to heinous crimes and many killed and others disappeared under Yahya Jammeh and allegedly on his orders. Is there anyone concerned about the crimes committed against these innocent citizens?. Jammeh also arrested, tortured, imprisoned scores of other Gambian citizens but no one should talk about justice for those families!
All these crimes and abuse of the office of the president are what led to the defeat of Yahya Jammeh and the APRC at the December elections. Jammeh and the whole world knows he has been defeated and has lost his legitimacy to govern the Gambia. After conceding defeat and realizing what crimes he has committed over two decades, the same Yahya Jammeh who has been so irresponsibly negligent of his duties as President and a total desecration of the Gambian constitution reverses his concession and has since put the nation on the path to instability. Now that the whole civilized world; the ECOWAS, UN, Etc and the Gambian people have demanded Jammeh leaves office on January 19th, but Yahya Jammeh continues to violate the constitution and insist on staying in power.
He continues to deny the legitimately elected government the privilege to peacefully prepare for the inauguration of President elect Adama Barrow and his team. He denied them access to the National Media to communicate with the Gambian people. He closed radio stations and continue to arrest and detain citizens with impunity. Jammeh’s latest address to the nation – in defiance of ECOWAS and UN demands for him to peacefully hand over power is one of many disregards and total disrespect to due process in the Gambia. His illegal petition in the undermanned supreme court which he blatantly violated by firing judges and refusing to appoint new ones since 2015 shows his irresponsible and disregard to the very constitution he is now an expert in.
Mr. Jammeh’s illegal appointment of a Secretary General as mediator 10 days before he must leave office is as unconstitutional as his efforts for the Supreme court to hear his petition. Worst, Mr. Jammeh has not only shut down the legitimate incoming government but his Demands for the National Assembly to Draft and Amnesty Bill for who? is beyond comprehension. Who is Jammeh seeking amnesty for and for What? Is Yahya Jammeh not the same president who has categorically denied any crimes has been committed by him and his regime? Does the National Assembly in fact has the right to pass an Indemnity Bill 10 days before the terms of the President Ends and a new president is sworn in? If Jammeh demands an amnesty so him and his people will escape justice for committing crimes against citizens, who is going to stand up for the innocent citizens who has been victims of his brutal regime? Who will demand justice for Deyda Hydara, Solo Sandeng, Solo Nkrumah, April 10th & 11th Victims and their families? Are Mr. Jammeh and his men’s lives and liberty more important than ordinary citizens? What about Amadou Sanneh, Sarjo Jallow and many others currently illegally jailed. What about their amnesty?
Who will fight and Demand for justice for innocent victims of the Jammeh regime? President-Elect Adama Barrow and the incoming leaders must be warned that any attempt to illegally take away the constitutional rights of citizens to seek redress for injustice for their love ones must be met with resistance to the highest order. The truth remains that Mr. Jammeh has lost power and he has no choice but to handover power. There shall not be any amnesty discussion unless Jammeh addresses the nation in admission of crimes committed in his watch. To this day, Yahya Jammeh never acknowledged much less admit that heinous crimes were committed on his watch against innocent citizens. Jammeh must therefore NOT be encouraged to discuss any form of amnesty whatsoever. Contrary to the fear mongering Jammeh is parading out there, he has nothing more to hang on to. He can neither stop the inauguration of Adama Barrow nor stop the hemorrhage of his top aides fleeing his regime. Yahya Jammeh must be shown the very power and force of the constitution he has denied so many citizens. He literally is hanging on to a life threat of support and is trying to safe his soul.
The coalition and the Gambian people must continue their preparation to inaugurate President-elect Adama Barrow in Grand Style at the Independent station on January 19th. Gambians must continue the pressure to ensure that Jammeh never gets away with any crimes again. In fact, Jammeh’s grand amnesty should have been a clean slate to transition power peacefully. If he has not committed any crimes then he has nothing to worry. Citizens’ rights to seek justice is a constitutionally guaranteed right and it must be protected by the incoming government. Any naivety or quest to assume power that gives Yahya Jammeh illegal Amnesty must be resisted by Gambian people who clearly won over their Democracy and freedom! No admission of crimes committed, No talk of an Amnesty period!