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Gambia: President Jammeh declares a state of emergency, as he refuses to step down (17.01.2017)

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A look into the Coup d’état in Gambia in 1994 and President Jammeh will linger in power!

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When you look into how a man gets into power and then keeps it. Then that story might show why the person doesn’t leave the Executive, the reign or the Presidency. I am today looking into Yayah Jammeh who made a coup d’état in the Islamic Republic of Gambia. Since of today the President-Elect of Gambia are living in Exile in Senegal. Therefore I have to address the man who is ceasing the power and control of a nation. A nation he did run, but lost an election and the result we’re announced on the 2nd December 2016. President Jammeh even called President-Elect Adama Barrow who won on an Opposition-Coalition ticket. After that the Army has pledged alliance with the incumbent, the Electoral Commission head has fled to Senegal and radios has been switched off. Just as the days before the polls the borders we’re closed and the internet we’re turned out. The Museveni-Blackout session was all in fashion in November 2016. So let’s take a brief look into the reports of 1994 coup d’état and how long he has said earlier he wanted to rule!

Yayah Jammeh pledges difference after 1994:

“BANJUL, Gambia, Aug. 26— When Lieut. Yahya Jammeh seized power in this West African country in a bloodless coup last month, breaking one of the continent’s longest traditions of electoral democracy, he joined the increasingly crowded ranks of soldiers who have risen to power in Africa” (…) “But even as he pledges to announce a timetable for a transition to democracy by the end of September, Lieutenant Jammeh, a child of the rural upcountry whose formal education ended in the 10th grade, complains that suspensions of vital donor aid in the meantime amount to “neocolonialism.” (…) “We are here for reasons that are peculiar only to Gambia, and what has happened in other parts of the continent, that does not concern us,” Lieutenant Jammeh said in an interview in a crimson-carpeted salon of State House. Political Activity Banned” (French, 1994).

More on the Coup in 1994:

“Weak borders and weak governments still characterize much of West Africa, and the coup d’état brewing in the graveyard would not be the Gambia’s first. Sanneh was on summer break from middle school in 1994 when, one morning, a group of junior army officers angry about their low salaries seized the national radio station, the airport, and government buildings in Banjul. The incumbent president, Dawda Jawara, who had led the country since independence, found safety on a docked U.S. warship while his guards evacuated the State House. When the disgruntled officers arrived, Andrew Winter, then the U.S. ambassador to the Gambia, told me, “I think much to their surprise, it was theirs.” At about 6 o’clock that evening, an announcement came on the radio: A four-member group called the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council, or AFPRC, had taken over. Its chair was Yahya Jammeh, then a 29-year-old army lieutenant who was little known outside the barracks” (Reid, 2016).

Real acts of Jammeh:

“Atrocious stories such as that of Imam Baba Leigh succeed one another, always more violent. As the day the authorities locked up 1,000 people in a stadium and made them drink hallucinogenic drinks. This surreal act is in the image of President Yahya Jammeh who claims to be able to cure AIDS, sterility or epilepsy using traditional plants and mystical incantations, hence his nickname “Fou de Kanilaï” his birth place. In 1993, Democrat Dawda Jawara, whom Jammeh overthrew, abolished the death penalty. In 1994, as soon as he took power, the master of Banjul, the Gambian capital, restored it and incorporated it into the Constitution in 1997” (Serieys, 2017).

What the President Jammeh says about the coup:

“I have seen banners saying no to coup, but the reality is that people will say how then did he become head of state because he overthrew somebody’s government? Yes, I came through a coup d’etat, because what was happening in this country is unacceptable. On 22 July 1994, not even a frog died, much more a human being. When we came that day, in broad day-light, which Imam missed a Friday prayer?” (…) “Let me also ask you this question. On July 22,1994, who among you missed his lunch because of the coup? In fact, July 22, 1994, our coup d’etat was more peaceful than any general election that was held in this country. When we came, we told you that we were soldiers with a difference. We were not power hungry, greedy soldiers that are looking for wealth and power to subjugate Gambians. We were development hungry. We want this country to move forward and be a beacon of hope for all of Africa, because what is happening in Africa is a sad story” (Jammeh, 2006).

How long did he want to rule:

“On the final day of campaigning, President Yahya Jammeh vowed to rule for the next 40 years. Mr. Jammeh, who seized power in 1994 as a 29-year-old army lieutenant and went on to win elections in 1996 and 2001, told supporters that he ruled through God and that ”no coup d’?t or elections can remove me.” He faces two challengers but warned at the rally in Serekunda, east of the capital, Banju, ”I will develop the areas that vote for me, but if you don’t vote for me, don’t expect anything.” (NYT, 2009).

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So the man who conceded did the phone-call in December 2016 and then went back on it. Therefore we know today that the President-Elect of Gambia is exile, because of one totalitarian leader didn’t want to stepdown or give way to new leadership in the Republic. As he said in 2009 before another election he proclaimed that no election could beat him. Certainly the recent did, as even the Electoral Commission did rig the tally, which must hurt the pride of the former soldier and lieutenant. He will not bow down to pressure, even the ECOWAS and African Union haven’t sanctioned anything of pressure, have made some arrangements and mediation, but not substantial. That with the knowledge that the man all of sudden didn’t want to step down and become an President Emeritus, instead now he is yet another lingering President in power.

Adama Barrow is the one that is supposed to rule, but Yahya Jammeh isn’t supposed to reign anymore. His time is up, his time in the executive and in power. Therefore now that the President-Elect is now in exile and will be there until Jammeh leaves. By my reckoning will not be quickly or swift. He will linger until somebody coup d’état him now. Since he isn’t stepping down for the one who won the Presidential Election in 2016! Peace.

Reference:

French, Howard W. – ‘In Gambia, New Coup Follows Old Pattern’ (28.08.1994) link: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/28/world/in-gambia-new-coup-follows-old-pattern.html

Jammeh, Yahya – ‘PRESIDENT JAMMEH’S ADDRESS ON THE 10,000 MAN MARCH’ (15.04.2006) link: http://qanet.gm/statehouse/peace-march_address_150406.htm

The New York Times (NYT) – ‘World Briefing | Africa: Gambia: Leader Vows To Rule For Next 40 Years’ (22.09.2009) link: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B00EEDF1E31F931A1575AC0A9609C8B63&rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FJammeh%2C%20Yahya&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=14&pgtype=collection

Reid, Stuart A. – ‘’Let’s Go Take Back Our Country’ (28.03.2016) link: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/03/lets-take-back-our-country/426852/

Serieys, Jaques – ‘Gambie : Yahya Jammeh au pouvoir par un coup d’état militaire’ (02.01.2017) link: http://www.gauchemip.org/spip.php?article23135

Gambia: Clampdown feared after three radio stations closed (03.01.2017)

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Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the arbitrary closure of three radio stations by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) just two weeks before President-elect Adama Barrow is due to take office if outgoing President Yahyah Jammeh finally decides to surrender power peacefully.

NIA officers visited the three stations – Hilltop Radio, Afri Radio and Teranga FM – on 1 January and verbally ordered them to stop broadcasting. They said the order came from their NIA superiors but they gave no reason for the decision and showed no official document.

Sources contacted by RSF said none of the three stations had broadcast content liable to upset the authorities in recent days. Hilltop Radio and Afri Radio are entertainment stations with no news programmes. Teranga FM used to broadcast press reviews in the Gambian vernacular until banned from continuing.

After Barrow, the opposition candidate, was declared the winner of the presidential election held on 1 December, most Banjul radio stations gave airtime to his jubilant supporters. President Jammeh initially accepted his defeat but later retracted and is now disputing the result.

Emil Touray, the head of the Gambia Press Union (GPU), said the closures represented the start of a major crackdown on freedom of expression. But the closures have not as yet had the expected result, inasmuch as several radio stations covered yesterday’s opposition news conference live.

“These arbitrary closures are extremely worrying just days ahead of an important date for Gambian democracy, and are part of a broader climate of attacks on democratic freedoms,” RSF editor-in-chief Virginie Dangles said. “We urge the authorities to reopen these stations at once and to stop clamping down on freedom of expression and information.”

Teranga FM was previously closed in 2012. Its manager, Alagie Ceesay, was arrested in July 2015 for circulating a photo critical of President Jammeh. His health deteriorated after several months in prison and he was transferred to a hospital, from which he managed to escape. He now lives in hiding.

President Jammeh, who is on RSF’s list of press freedom predators, has ruled Gambia since 1994, imposing a climate of fear that permeates all levels of society and forces journalists to censor themselves if they want to continue working.

The murder of RSF correspondent Deyda Hydara, who was shot dead at the wheel of his car in Banjul in 2004, has never been solved. Another journalist, Chief Ebrimah Manneh, disappeared while in detention in 2006. The authorities continue to deny that they were holding him.

Since Jammeh’s retraction of his initial acceptance of Barrow’s victory, observers fear an increase in repressive measures in the run-up to the date when Barrow is scheduled to be sworn in as the new president.

Gambia is ranked 145th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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