As we write with heavy hearts and glimmer of hopes that our country is on the brink of being turned to ashes, one cannot certainly say that we haven’t exhausted all necessary means to avoid a potential catastrophe. The young children, women, old, sick and poor are the ones that pay the heaviest prices and thus the reason why Gambians have always chosen the right and peaceful way to express their dissent and change of government via the ballot box. While some around the hinterland cannot be reached or as a naive mind may dismiss as being safe since the central skirmishes appears to be in Banjul, the State House, we are equally concerned and wish to coordinate with every Diasporan who can reach loved ones for information dissemination and emergency assistance as needed.
The situation in The Gambia is tense, unpredictable and we are doing everything possible to provide information and assistance to loved ones and the diaspora. The declaration of Emergency unfortunately heightened the security of the nation and have therefore plunged Gambia into a refugee crisis. We are calling on the UNDP,UNHCR, IMF, WB,Red Cross and all other disaster preparedness agencies to draft a contingency plan for Gambians. We are calling the Obama administration to provide humanitarian assistance to the Senegalese as our host for thousands of Gambians fleeing their country. We are also calling on the British government to provide technical assistance in satellite feeds, setting up refugee camps around the borders,food, healthcare and transportation. We are also calling on the SeneGambian diaspora to join hands and raise needed funds to help their fellow citizens currently in harms way. As per World Bank, the Gambian diaspora contributed over 20% of GDP and such task of sustaining Gambian lives is not Herculean especially when lives depend on your efforts. It will be hard as no one can anticipate in the foreseeable future if such turmoil will end in days, weeks or months. We are calling on GDF to start a fundraising campaign or liaise with other organizations to help save Gambian lives. https://www.gofundme.com/gambia-humanitarian-crisis
We will create an information bank to track and report Gambians missing through forcefully disappearance or not reachable due to personal protection and safety.(https://gambiar2k2016.crowdmap.com/?full=1). We are working with the coalition team to give you updates from Gambia and vetting proper information coming from news sources.We urge calm in the diaspora and let’s join hands together during these hard times.We will be working with international organizations and governments to closely monitor the activities of the current regime and their current mandate by the National Assembly to maintain peace and order.
We want to assure every Gambian that we shall all rise again. The future is bright and what was insurmountable was done on December 1st. We spoke loudly and clearly and rejected despotism and monarchical rule.We have one of the youngest population in the Western Africa and can therefore definitively declare that the our country shall rise again with tenacious resolution for freedom, democracy and rule of law. Gone are the days where a Gambian will not speak freely and responsibly about the affairs of the state. We were never represented fairly and equally as the ones we trusted to steer The Gambia were devoid of character and morality. We have elected a new president and soon we shall join him in rebuilding constitutional, electoral, governmental reforms. A birth of a new nation is here and we are thanking every member state of ECOWAS for such altruistic endeavor as one could have easily concluded that it was a sovereign matter and stayed away but the respect for the Gambian people and their decision is what prompted good ambassadors of justice to put soldiers in harms way to preserve African democracy. We thank the AU, UN, EU and especially Senegal for not only hosting others militarily, opening their borders, transporting refugees and opening their homes but giving the Gambians platforms to talk to the world. We shall rise again. Thank you.
We will go into a special situation in Gambia, as the ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) have stationed troops in a joint operation from the West African Co-Operative of Nations. These have sent their forces and armies to Senegal as it borders to Gambia. The nation that had an election in the November 2016, where President-Elect Adama Barrow who won the election, Barrow we’re declared on the 2nd of December.
Aftermath of the time after the election is that President Yayha Jammeh has said he apparently didn’t want to leave office. Therefore the have been high esteemed visitors from ECOWAS, Communiques from African Union and others who hasn’t accepted that Jammeh want to overstay his mandate after losing an election. The Army has said their behind Jammeh, while many officials and ministers has resigned and fled to Senegal.
Just of yesterday the President Jammeh stated a ‘State of Emergency’ as the loyalist are staying behind him and the ones who wants him to linger in power. There are many other who feels he has done his duty over 2 decades, this happen after his bloodless coup d’état in 1994. Jammeh has with the latest order can postpone the transition to an administration of Barrow.
So Jammeh is in a long line of executives doing what they can to overstay. This has happen during the recent years and with all sorts of means. If so, being for instance Museveni in Uganda, Nkurunziza in Burundi and now also Kabila in the DRC. Jammeh is just pulling the trick after a lost election and using his knowledge of the army where he came from and the national assembly to continue to reign.
The ECOWAS is making the difference as the fleeing leadership and resigning ministers in the cabinet of Jammeh, proves that his time is up. If they are meaning business, as the ECOWAS has stated that the Barrow will be officiated or sworn-in as President of Gambia tomorrow.
The reports are that troops from Mali, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal are in Senegal to prepare to invade Gambia if their executive doesn’t stepdown. Ghana and Nigeria have themselves committed 200 troops to the effort. Nigeria has even pulled their Nigerian Air Force close to the border.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed to Senegal as part of Nigerian contingent of Economic Community of West African States Military Intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG) – a standby force tasked by ECOWAS Heads of State to enforce the December 1, 2016 election mandate in the The Gambia. The NAF today moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, Light Utility Helicopter as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft to Dakar from where it is expected to operate into Gambia. The deployment is also to forestall hostilities or breakdown of law and order that may result from the current political impasse in The Gambia” (Shewesky Media, 18.01.2017)
Other numbers from the ECOWAs is 530 from Senegal, 600 from Ghana, 100 from Sierra Leone and 1,000 Nigerians. Also 200 soldiers in total from France, United Kingdom and Germany as well! In this joint operations there are also reported to have 30 Fighter Jets and 300 B2 Fighters to ensure the surrendering of Jammeh in Gambia.
That is unique and special in our time that ECOWAS an foreign force will invade so the Republic will actually respect its current and declared winner of the nearly month old Presidential election. Jammeh has already claimed during December that no army can beat his, his Gambian army. So he will not back-down from a showdown. ECOWAS proves their behind their words when the stable an army in such quick way and put them on the border to Gambia. This in the same week as the Kingdom of Morocco has already offered Jammeh a “golden retirement”, but big-men like him only leaves when they have too. Even Napoleon had to return and create havoc in Europe. The same could Jammeh be capable of as he went from being a Lieutenant to become a President.
Jammeh, is really in trouble as hackers have even hacked the State House web-page and switched Barrow to be President on it. As he is sitting in the Palace or whatnot planning and wondering how the ECOWAS will strike him. Surely he could be paranoid in Banjul, as many loyal cadres in the cabinet have resigned of late, because of fear within and they will not stand beside a man who doesn’t have the mandate for a new term.
There reports in Banjul that soldiers have left their arms, as the reports of the ECOWAS army beside their border. The soldiers are actually deserters from the army as there are even circulated uniforms in the streets. That is happening as the Jammeh family itself flees the capital.
So the reality is that ECOWAS is intervening in way we haven’t seen, a collective quick effort to oust an illegitimate president from power. As an answer to the lingering reign of one man in one Republic, The Gambia deserves better and they should get their righteous Executive. Though it shouldn’t be needed to the Joint Military Operation in Gambia isn’t a wishful ceasing of Jammeh’s mandate. Well, then Jammeh hasn’t been the most steady character or leader. So these acts would be seen as reasonable for him. Jammeh has for instance said he would step-down to back-down from it in under a week’s time.
Jammeh, is truly out of time and the ones that will lose their lives are innocent Gambians, Gambians who lose economic future and businesses hit by the lacking of tourism while the crisis lingers. Also these soldiers from the international community who loses valuable soldiers to get rid of an executive who doesn’t want to leave his office.
ECOWAS shouldn’t need this, but maybe the one who takes power with the gun, only will leave when bigger guns are put to his face. Therefore the warships, fighter-jets and battalions in Senegal from dozens of nations might help to give sufficient pressure of a power-hungry individual. The Gambia and the Republic deserves somebody who they wanted to lead. Now they have a man who is trespassing. President Jammeh is now using his time in office to try to trade more time. Seems like the ECOWAS acts on behalf of the citizens and if the reports from Banjul are true, than the soldiers have been dropping their guns. That will ease the loses and the tactical drama of the besieging Jammeh. We will only know when the reports keep piling in. Peace.
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).
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.
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®ion=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
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.
NEW YORK, United States of America, December 29, 2016 – Today, the Secretary-General called Mr. Adama Barrow, President-elect of The Gambia, to congratulate him on his electoral victory. He confirmed that the United Nations welcomed and fully supported the ECOWAS decisions of 17 December on The Gambia, and he reiterated the commitment of the Organization to support a peaceful, timely and orderly transfer of power in full respect of the will of the Gambian people.
The Secretary-General encouraged President-elect Barrow to call upon his supporters to show restraint and not to resort to violence. He expressed the readiness of the United Nations to support President-elect Barrow and his future Government in efforts to promote democracy and achieve sustainable development in The Gambia.
The Secretary-General has not yet been able to talk with President Yahya Jammeh, despite his efforts to reach him by telephone.
“The Security Council reiterates its request to outgoing President Jammeh and the relevant Gambian Authorities to fully respect the results of the presidential election of 1 December 2016”.
NEW YORK, United States of America, December 22, 2016 – Welcoming the African Union’s decision to recognize Adama Barrow as President-Elect of Gambia, the United Nations Security Council reiterated its call on outgoing President Yayha Jammeh to transfer power to the President-Elect in peaceful and orderly manner.
“The Security Council reiterates its request to outgoing President Jammeh and the relevant Gambian Authorities to fully respect the results of the presidential election of 1 December 2016, to respect the will of the Gambian people and to carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process, and to transfer power to President-elect Adama Barrow by 19 January 2017 in accordance with the Gambian constitution,” said a Presidential Statement read out at a formal meeting of the 15-member body today.
“[The Council] further welcomes the decision of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State to attend the 19 January inauguration of President-elect Barrow in Banjul (Gambia’s capital),” it added.
In the statement, the Council also underlined the need to ensure the security of President-elect Barrow and that of all Gambians, and called on the country’s defence and security forces to demonstrate maximum restraint and maintain an atmosphere of calm in Banjul.
Further, commending ECOWAS efforts aimed at diffusing the situation in the west African country, the Council welcomed the appointment of Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria as the Mediator in Gambia and that of John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana as Co-chair.
Last week, an ECOWAS/UN high level delegation, led by the President of the Liberia and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, visited Banjul and undertook discussions aimed at ensuring a peaceful and orderly transition.
Senior UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein have spoken out on the situation in Gambia, urging outgoing President Jammeh to respect the outcome of the results and to transfer power to the incoming President.