Gambia: 21 gun salute to ECOWAS troops



By Gwiyi Solomon
In a world where ‘men without ears’ live, Hammers and Chisels (carpentry working tools) are usually required, to get some pieces of words-of-wisdom into their skulls; in such climate, voice of wisdom is jettisoned and treated with utmost scorn, while words of reason, diplomacy and decorum are kicked away with bare-footedness; and then, get confined in the dustbin.
Such was the situation in the Gambia, where upon refusal to relinquish powers after defeat, heads of different governments across Africa were drafted by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS to Banjul, the Gambian Capital to help and talk sense into former President YahyaJammeh, and probably save him from disgrace.
On three occasions were the ECOWAS Leaders sent to the Gambian capital, but on three occasions were they rejected by the former leader. On many occasions, did the delegates meet in different locations, including Abuja, capital of Nigeria to discuss and fine-tune the best approach that will get Jammeh do the needful before handover date, but on those occasions, the former Gambian leader grew in stubbornness.
I could imagine Mr. Mahama John (Member of ECOWAS Delegates to Jammeh, President of Ghana, until last two weeks when he handed over to his successor, after suffering defeat in Ghana’s last elections), telling the Gambian President, him too would be handing over in few days, as they suffered similar fate. But the former leader shook his head in disapproval.
I could also imagine President Muhamadu Buhari of Nigeria (leader of ECOWAS mediation in the Gambia) telling the former Gambian Leader, one President Jonathan from Bayelsa State, Nigeria shocked the whole world last two years, when he lost to him and clearly and openly conceded defeat, just as he also promised not to challenge his defeat in court as against the decision of his political party, The PDP, the then largest Party in Africa, and stood by his words.
And the only woman President across Africa and ECOWAS chair, President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would only, imaginarily say a few things: “I defeated a man during my contest, in a world where women are hardly allowed to superintend over the affairs of their countries, and in a world where there is gross inequality between both genders but he conceded defeat and respected the voice of my people. So why not be a man that you are and do the needful?”
But jammeh was either a bad listener or he never listened at all. He saw the respected ECOWAS Chiefs who abandoned their country’s pressing needs and got committed in resolving the Gambian imbroglio, in the spirit of brotherhood as fools. And then, he treated them, as well as their mediation in the Gambian impasse as so.
At that point, friendliness turned sour. And their love for Jammeh went berserk, just as the need to urgently define an enemy surged. And jammeh turned what he is – an enemy of democracy, the hater of his people and an irredentist.
That was the end of him. So, regional forces were quickly pulled together for the former leader, and both the National and transnational media organizations made the best out of the assemblage. The Nigeria’s fighter jet, was for example, widely televised flying thousands of miles above the thick cloud, En-route to the Gambia in the spirit of brotherhood and wars, just like the Cameroonian, Ghanaian Senegalese and others.
‘That was the last straw that broke the Camel’s back.’ Jammeh suddenly became jittery, and the man in him died. His soldiers deserted him while his ministers ran to Senegal, the Gambian neighboring country for safety. And the man himself surrendered in a grand style, professing to love Gambia and advertising his decision as one predicated to bring ‘peace.’
What peace of the grave yard! What peace? It was not the words of Guinean and Mauritanian presidents, the last minute mediators, who broke the deadlock from former president Jammeh. It was fear of the ECOWAS troops, the intimidating assemblage of Africa’s military finesses to enforce good conscience and beat Jammeh into submission.
‘Action,’ indeed ‘speaks louder than voice,’ just as it has appeared to ‘speak a better thing than the’ voices of sense, reason, peace and diplomacy put together. Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the campaigner of continuous use of diplomacy in the Gambia should take note it was only the violent ones that took it by force in the Gambia.
The world, again, has gone pass a stage where only one man will hold us to a ransom and be gambling with the destiny of the Gambia, his people and the entire world. There is no supremo anywhere in the world as mere alliances of even smaller countries, with small powers can ditch a super power and bring it to its knees.
Good a thing: the ECOWAS troops rescued Gambia from Jammeh and ensured a smooth inauguration of Mr. Adama Barrow, winner of the December elections, without firing a shot or spilling any blood. God still works wonders, even in this generation. Kudos to ECOWAS and 21 gun salute to its troops. You are the champions of this victory and history will be kind to you and your sacrifices for the freedom of man.
Gwiyi Solomon writes from Abuja.
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