The phrase “those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad” was the foremost axiom that ran through my veins the minute I read through the media, President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has vowed not to relinquish powers to Mr. Adama Barraow, winner of the December 2016 General elections in his country come January 2017; days after he had conceded defeat and congratulated Mr. Barrow.
Whatever informed President Jammeh’s action of upturning his words and then, went ahead to upturn the electoral results as was declared by the independent electoral commission of Gambia was done in error. Such decisions are no longer valid in our ever-growing and fast-changing world for so many compelling reasons.
First, Coming at a time when across the globe, electoral victories and losses have been reduced to nothing by the concessions of defeats and its acceptance by political actors, Yahya Jammeh, can be said to be taking the world back to its dustbins. Secondly, rising and learning from Nigeria and Ghana’s recent elections, where defeats of incumbents were widely accepted and dusted, Yahaya must be reminded the world is on a fast journey to civility, requiring no derailment.
Already the delegation of heads of state of Economic Community of West African Countries, ECOWAS leaders, including the chairperson Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, and the Presidents of Nigeria (Muhammadu Buhari), Sierra Leone (Ernest BaiKoroma), Ghana (John Dramani Mahama) and Guinea (Alpha Conde) have met with Jammeh in Banjul and with opposition coalition leaders in order to cajole him into doing the needful come next January but was not successful.
Also, the African Union, the UN Security Council as well as other members of the international community have rightly warned President Yahya, who has been in power as head of Gambia for 22 year now, since seizing powers as a young soldier in 1994, and winning subsequent contests through his sit-tight means in elections held in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 respectively not to play the ostrich but hand over power as at when due to his country’s new leader but are being ignored.
From all indications, Jammeh, like President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, also in Africa, who has spent over 30 years in power, maybe looking forward for the same treatment meted on the past leaders of his ilk: Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi; Ivorian former President, Laurent Gbagbo and Egypt’s ousted President, Hosni Mubarak who were forcibly booted out by world leaders who insisted on doing the right kind of things anywhere.
Jammeh’s avowal to remain in power even after losing to Adama, conceding and rejecting defeat afterwards, is a clear and practical inquest into John F. Kennedy’s famous quote that: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable;” As this is evidently tilting towards that direction.
Indeed, there is an end to every garbage, every rubbish on this planet. And when this comes, it does with every sense of clarity and lucidity. Leaving no one in doubt as to the direction events are headed for, and its possible outcomes.
Such is the handwriting clearly showing on every wall in Gambia and across the world over Jammeh. President Yahya has drawn the attention of world leaders to Africa again on the accounts of our sit-tight syndrome and conundrum. And they are not going to take this for granted or for a joke. Rather, they are by now, sitting up for a possible show-down with the unrepentant.
Already, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the United Nations Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel said “For Mr. Jammeh, the end is here and under no circumstances can he continue to be president. By that time (Jan. 18), his mandate is up and he will be required to hand over to Mr. Barrow.” While Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the refusal to accept the election result was an “outrageous act of disrespect of the will of the Gambian people”.
From the forgoing, it is clearly self-evident the cloud is gathering for President Jammeh, just the same way, it recently did for Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaoré, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, who was recently swept from power after 27 years by a violent popular uprising, and yet, it looks Jammeh does not give a hoot over the implications of an uprising or a possible joint military actions against him.
It is therefore, pertinent at this point Jammeh should as a matter of urgency, wisdom and reason, hand over the reins of Gambian head office to its new occupant and save himself from self destruction and disgrace come January, as experience has shown no human or country has monopoly of control of power, irrespective of self adulation.
Meanwhile, the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWA; the United Nations Security Council and a host other international bodies must stand up in defense of the Gambians’ choice of leadership and ensure their mandate as expressed is protected. They must therefore, ensure Gambia shall be free from Jammeh’s stronghold (Apologies to Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia and author of “Zambia shall be free”).
Gwiyi Solomon writes from Abuja.
Contact Gwiyi@: firstname.lastname@example.org