Editorial: Yahya Jammeh’s Rejection of Election Results; Suicide Mission or a Bargaining Tool for Amnesty?

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Barely one week after the Gambian Dictator for 22 years graciously conceded defeat at the December 1st 2016 Presidential elections concluded peacefully; Jammeh has reversed course by declaring to the world on National Television that he is rejecting the results that clearly shows he was beaten by Adama Barrow and the opposition coalition. Mr. Jammeh’s announcement was made on Gambia Radio and Television Services Friday evening December 9th, when he read the final results of the IEC which still shows he lost to the President – Elect Adama Barrow.

President Jammeh’s reason for rejecting the results is premise on his alleged rigging of the elections at the polls by the marginalized opposition. He said “some of the electorates were told at the polling stations that the opposition has won the elections thereby discouraging those voters from casting their ballots. Jammeh also claimed that out of over 886,000 registered voters little over 500,000 came out and voted. As a result, Jammeh wonders why the rest of the registered voters did not come out to vote!  Jammeh said the IEC Chairman Alhagie Mamar Njai and his election team were “independent” yet he is rejecting the results they declared.

It is unprecedented and frankly an insult to historic precedence that a Dictator who has ruled his country with impunity for 22 years; controlling every institution of governance including the security apparatus would cry foul and claim elections have been rigged. Mr. Jammeh throughout his tenure has governed in the most brutal ways locking his opponents; dismissing, arresting, kidnapping and executing in cold blood some of his political opponents. There are thousands of Gambians who are locked up, some killed and countless others exiled for simply challenging dictator Jammeh’s oppressive rule.  For such a leader known throughout the world as an autocrat and control freak d who doesn’t allow an open process to complain about election rigging is best laughable and at worst embarrassing.

Mr. Jammeh’s latest political amateurish behavior is not the least surprising to many Gambians and other political pundits. In fact, the only thing surprising to the Gambian people was Jammeh’s gracious acceptance of the elections barely hours after he was declared the loser at the polls. Many people wonder if they were dreaming to hear Yahya Jammeh call President – Elect Adama Barrow and congratulated him. Some had to pinch themselves several times to see if they really still had pulse and feelings in their body. The narrative of Jammeh’s 22 years of brutal rule just coming to an abrupt end like that without him contemplating what would happen to him next was just too good to be true. Everything was unfolding too quickly in his face for him to be able to absorb the reality of the day.

Gambians must have known that the Yahya Jammeh we have been fighting against for all these years was not capable of being so gracious and so humanely. He couldn’t have been born again over night and all of a sudden became a role model of democracy, peace and patriotism without pounding his chest with threats of burying citizens six feet deep. Was this Yahya Jammeh on steroid? many Gambians across the world were shocked that he conceded the elections so quickly. Mr. Jammeh is not capable of being decent and certainly 22 years of killings, torture and maiming of citizens couldn’t have been wipe-out of his memory and blood. He has committed too many crimes and created too many enemies to just go like that. Therefore, after his strong depression medication wore out, Jammeh found himself in a different universe. His wife has fled the country, his so-called power and two decades of privileges are just about gone out the window! Oh my God, Jammeh realized all of a sudden he was dealing with reality, one he was never expecting in his life time – ‘life without the presidency.’ He then began to scramble to rally the security chiefs and put his morally weak securities on standby… Jammeh would not let go of power and hand over the country peacefully without a fight. He neither believe in Democracy nor the will of the people. Jammeh is a true dictator and not a smart one for that matter. He immediately pivoted and began to search for an excuse to not get out of power. Amazingly, Jammeh is now contemplating suing the IEC – the very body he illegally created and filled it with puppets he can hire and fire any time he wants. And worst Jammeh expects the courts to rule against him, the very courts he has tampered with in every opportunity by arresting and jailing his chief justices, attorney General and other judges. Jammeh must be kidding himself to expect Gambians to buy into his scheme to buy more time..

History is full of lessons and without our ability to learn from history and relate to other circumstances one could never understand what is happening to them. The Gambian people and the world have woken up to a new day of freedom in Gambia while Jammeh was fast asleep. The celebrations and congratulatory messages were non-stop. Jammeh could not and would not live with this reality. Unfortunately, for Mr. Jammeh his time is up and he is better of focusing on plan B – how to negotiate his life and potentially live free somewhere away from Gambia. In our humble opinion, Yahya Jammeh’s latest move to reject the election results after willingly conceding defeat is a ploy to negotiate a safe exit for him and some of his most ill-educated security personnel.

This is the most reasonable explanation we can see Jammeh is pulling. Certainly, Jammeh knows the fate of his friend former Ivorian President Lawrence Gbagbo after he too rejected elections that booted him out. Jammeh also knows that the world has no more tolerance for people like him thus his reason for pulling Gambia out of treaties, the ICC and staying away from regional functions. We therefore believe that Yahya Jammeh is looking for a way out peacefully. He must be by now reaching out to his rare friends to find him a place to escape with unlimited resources he has looted from Gambia. The Gambian people must prepare to take on Jammeh should he wants to remain in power past January. It is our humble believe that Jammeh is already in advance negotiations to let go of power something he never dreams of doing. Anything less Jammeh must be on a suicide mission and Gambians just need to ensure that not a single blood of Gambians is spilled to protect his aspiration to remain in power for the rest of his life. As they say man proposes God disposes and Jammeh’s rejection of the results is just that a proposal and God has already disposed his fate.

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  1. Outgoing president Jammeh’s belated rejection of the December 1st election results and call for a fresh one is not only unfortunate but also misguided. It should better dawn on him that his iron fist style of leadership was explicitly quashed by the electorate in the ballot box . He no longer retains the mandate to overstep the other arms of govt as he has previously been doing. Whereas the writer airs his personal views on Jammeh’s insincere intention, I am of a variant opinion. As his fellow African dictators have recently been doing, Jammeh may be on a power-sharing mission. Feeling insecure over the fast unfolding events, he may deliberately create an untenable crisis forcing ECOWAS or other organizations to interceed. Majority of these dictators refuse to relinquish power after losing and cause post-election violence ending up in a 50-50 power-sharing basis. A (cermonial) Prime Minister’s post is hurriedly created if it was there and offered to the genuine winner. The loser retains the presidency and slowly grabs back power while he demolarises and shortchanges the PM’s power as he eventually rigs himself back in the following election retaining dictatorship indefinitely. Personally, the election is now water under the bridge and Jammeh should better allow a peaceful transition or follow his former Ivorian counterpart’s path sooner rather than later. May peace be with Gambians. God bless you!

  2. I meant a ceremonial Prime Minister’s post is hurriedly created if the country did not have one. Sorry for the mix up.

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