When he seized power in the small West African state of the Gambia in 1994 at age 29 through the barrel of the gun, he had the greatest opportunity to make history and turn a nation into a model democracy in Africa. He forcefully took power from a laid back government which had overstayed its mandate without meaningful political reforms for successful leadership transition through democratic means. The then Lt. Yahya Jammeh immediately surrounded himself with seasoned politicians, civil servants and technocrats to help him solidify his transition into power. He recalled the political establishment from the old regime and gave them front seats to run the affairs of the state. However, he maintained central control of power dictating everything through degrees from the State.
Soon it became apparent that he was overwhelmed with the responsibility of leading a nation beyond the revolutionary sound bites of “transparency, accountability and probity”. He became bigger than his colleagues, their initial mission to correct the wrongs of the first Republic and the nation as a whole. His ego, arrogance and worldly ambitions for material wealth and power grew by the day and he became larger than life in his mind. He was blinded by this power and quest for wealth thus he was blinded by his overwhelming rise to power and fame. He lost his humanity, his sense of duties and responsibility as a young man. It became all about him, for him and on him; nothing moves, nothing breaths and nothing lives freely without his sanctions. The real Yahya Jammeh who lacks knowledge, wisdom, faith and most importantly the human capacity to learn and understand his responsibilities as a leader, his relationship to his fellow citizens and the world surrounding him became oblivious.
Yahya Jammeh following the footsteps of century old style of Mansa leadership became the judge, the jury and the executor. He became drunk in power and surrounded himself with people who see him as God and whose life and future is nothing without his support. He became an alien and built more enemies, opponents and servants who dare defy his orders or challenge him on his thoughtless and impulsive decisions. He no longer needed companions, advisers, spiritual and professional. He knew everything, more than anybody and therefore did not trust anybody surrounding him. So be it, he got his wish by living in a different universe with no trusted aides, no one telling him what to or not to do… He was always right by his folks and slowly what looks like real power became a sorry state of fear, desperation and anarchy… He would order the elimination of any citizen who dare oppose him and even if he was simply joking and or speaking from being upset about something, his terrified missionaries will carry his orders whether he meant it or not. Along the way citizens were dismissed from their jobs, arrested and jailed for years without trial, some killed a cruel death and others simply disappeared without trace.
Yahya Jammeh would then take on not only his country’s men and women but the world and the entire universe. He treated everyone as an enemy as he became fearful of revenge on his cruelty and maltreatment of others. He became a virtual prisoner in his own mind and body. The President who by now has grown feathers and wings like an Angel of death became invincible. In 2012 he gathered religious elders during one of his traditional Eid meetings and vow to eliminate any form of crimes by setting an example on those who are already convicted of capital crimes and treason. He openly threatened the religious elders for daring to beg him for mercy or advise him on anything that he does. No sooner than they left his meeting the President ordered the execution in cold blood of nine (9) inmates convicted of various crimes. These were summarily executed through firing squad to send clear message that the president meant what he threatened to the elders. This follows numerous other extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances since Jammeh came to power. The country and the Gambian people the world over wondered what kind of leader the nation has gotten itself. What kind of human being and how someone who grew up in such a compassionate society would turn so monstrous? Things got worst and Jammeh grew more isolated, angrier and resentful of anybody who dare tell him otherwise. He got lost into the wilderness and more vulnerable as his closest aides jump bail and became adversaries.
Fast forward 2016, 22 years later Yahya Jammeh and the Gambian state has reached a point of no return. They have done so much damage to themselves and created so many enemies in the country and around the world, that it become damn if they do and damn if they don’t. Jammeh lost sight of what is right and wrong by his citizens, he grew more vicious and set himself on a path for a suicide mission. As the conventional wisdom goes; a human being is always a human being, we may be the most irresponsible, the most arrogant and the greediest, but there comes a time when your mind wonders the world and you ask: What if? what is going on with me and what am I doing? At least this is what is expected of a human being with five common senses and blood running in their veins. All of a Sudden, Yahya Jammeh once again gathered religious leaders at his annual Eid on July 6th, 2016 and almost repented on his numerous crimes. He almost humanely asked the religious leaders who he threatened to dare asked him for mercy couple of years ago why they would not advise him to do the right thing? He asks why would people take money from him – “a wealth that does not belong to him” Really!!! only to turn other citizens against him. No Mr. Jammeh, Not so soon… When did you realized you are human? When did you realized that you have for 22 years did wrong by the Gambian people? When did you ever needed or accepted any form of advise Mr. Jammeh? So all of a sudden Mr. Iron President, it is the fault of the elders for failing to advice you, it is the failure of Gambians to correct you when you are wrong?
No Mr. Jammeh, for the longest decent citizens of the Gambia within and outside have called on your humanity, your compassion and most importantly your moral responsibility as a leader of the nation to be restrained, to treat your fellow citizens as human beings and to detach yourself from the presidency by using the constitutional provisions of the land to govern. But no, you feel too big, too rich, too powerful and too manly to listen to anyone and to your faith on carrying out your moral duties as a temporal leader of a nation. Do not blink Mr. Jammeh as the inevitable end is near and the path to safe your soul cannot be clearer. You still have a golden opportunity to resign from the false sense of power entitlement you are barely holding on to. It is never too late to do the right thing, so apologize to the Gambian people, ask for forgiveness and give up power and return your faith back to the people and the power to be. The clock is ticking Nasuree Dean and Babilimansa..your people despise you… The End is Near; the End is Here Mr. Jammeh. The ball is in your court!