There are some men of Nobel character out there, but they are usually hidden and in silence. Today, I will have to write of one of them. This has actually happen back-in-January of 2017, but only gotten a whiff of it this week.
The world knows of the democratically elected opposition leader and Presidential Candidate Adama Barrow of the Republic of The Gambia. That in the midst of January 2017 he was sworn-in on the 19th January, as President Yayha Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea. It didn’t look like he would leave, but international pressure and also resignation of his own cabinet members forced this. That ECOWAS sending forces from Senegal into Gambia, also gave the former President no-hope of a longevity of his presidency. Jammeh had a dictatorship for 22 years, even killed his opposition and harassed them.
But this is all well-known facts about the state of affairs in Gambia. That the one winning election and the who had to sworn-in in Senegal and needed Ecowas troops to get rid of the 1994 Coup d’etat General Jammeh who never wanted to leave his post. Even if someone else won over him with a coalition victory years after.
Now today after months in-charge and the dictator disposed. The act that the new president did, shows his character and his real quest to power. It shows that he can actually prove his manhood and bravery. Adama Barrow should never be underestimated. Because he came to Gambia after fleeing on the 26th January after swearing-in on 19th January 2017 in Dakar, Senegal.
So what was so noble and great happen on 30th January 2017, when Gambia Gazette No. 4. on 31st January says this:
“Whereas by Section82(1)(a) of the 1997 of the Republic of The Gambia, the President may exercise his Prerogative of Mercy in respect of any person convicted of any offence” (…) “And Whereas His Excellency the President considers the circumstances of the convicted prisoners named in the schedule, as warranting the exercise of his Prerogative of Mercy” (…) “Now Therefore, I Adama Barrow, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section of 82(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, do hereby grant pardon to the persons named in the schedule hereto” (…) “Done at Banjul this 30th Day of January 2017” (Gambia Gazzette No. 4, 31.01.2017).
This here proves that someone was pardoned by the newly elected President, just days after he was returned and sworn-in. Just starting his rule and his first term in power. The peacefully elected President decided to pardon 39 people. Of these 39 people, one person is a standout, one person who has looted the Republic and been a torn in the flesh of the people. The one they couldn’t stand or be the head of state anymore. The 25th Person who was pardoned by Barrow, was no other than Yahya Jammeh!
Barrow who has nothing to win by doing this, who has nothing to gain, still gave way for Jammeh and even as he is in exile in Equatorial Guinea with his wealth. He still hasn’t have to fear the law or repercussions from law-officials and law-officers of Gambia. Since he is pardoned. He is a free and rich man in exile, that is the gift Barrow gave him, just days in power and as Commander-in-Chief. Barrow had no need to do this. He could have prosecuted him and tried every single way of freezing the accounts and get the tax-funds looted back to Gambia. Instead he pardoned him and let him go. So that Jammeh should have less grievances against the now ruler of Gambia. There shouldn’t be anything personal or anything that creates friction between them.
The one in exile should kiss his pinky-ring. He should watch over his estate and his wealth in joy. The people of Gambia should know what sort of man they have elected. There we’re no need to act this swift and give this pardon. But he did for his reasons. Clearly, the wise man forgives, but never forget. Barrow seems smart, but hopefully will not be conned. He was saved by ECOWAS and the International Pressure on Jammeh. Now he has showed his character and it deserves praise. Not because Jammeh deserved it. He didn’t he should been behind bars and paid-in-full. But Barrow gives way and shows hope of a better future. Since the leadership of this way. Gives hope for a tomorrow. Peace.
ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commend the goodwill and statesmanship of His Excellency former President Jammeh, who with the greater interest of the Gambian people in mind, and in order to preserve the peace, stability and security of The Gambia and maintain its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the dignity of the Gambian people, has decided to facilitate an immediate peaceful and orderly transition process.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 23, 2017 –
1. Following the Decision of the Summit of the ECOWAS Authority taken on 17th December 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria, Mediation efforts, including visits to Banjul, were undertaken by the Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, HE President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Mediator, HE President Muhammadu Buhari and Co-Mediator on The Gambia, HE former President John Dramani Mahama, along with HE President Ernest Bai Koroma to mediate on the political impasse with Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh.
2. Following further mediation efforts by HE President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and HE President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea Conakry with HE Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, the former President of the Republic of The Gambia, and in consultation with the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, the Chairperson of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, this declaration is made with the purpose of reaching a peaceful resolution to the political situation in The Gambia.
3. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commend the goodwill and statesmanship of His Excellency former President Jammeh, who with the greater interest of the Gambian people in mind, and in order to preserve the peace, stability and security of The Gambia and maintain its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the dignity of the Gambian people, has decided to facilitate an immediate peaceful and orderly transition process and transfer of power to President Adama Barrow in accordance with the Gambian constitution.
4. In furtherance of this, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it assures and ensures the dignity, respect, security and rights of HE former President Jammeh, as a citizen, a party leader and a former Head of State as provided for and guaranteed by the 1997 Gambian Constitution and other Laws of The Gambia.
5. Further, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it fully guarantees, assures and ensures the dignity, security, safety and rights of former President Jammeh’s immediate family, cabinet members, government officials, Security Officials and party supporters and loyalists.
6. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that no legislative measures are taken by it that would be inconsistent with the previous two paragraphs.
7. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN urge the Government of The Gambia to take all necessary measures to assure and ensure that there is no intimidation, harassment and/or witch-hunting of former regime members and supporters, in conformity with the Constitution and other laws of The Gambia.
8. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully belonging to former President Jammeh or his family and those of his Cabinet members, government officials and Party supporters, as guaranteed under the Constitution and other Laws of The Gambia.
9. In order to avoid any recriminations, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia on national reconciliation to cement social, cultural and national cohesion.
10. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN underscore strongly the important role of the Gambian Defence and Security Forces in the maintenance of peace and stability of The Gambia and commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it takes all appropriate measures to support the maintenance of the integrity of the [Defence and] Security Forces and guard against all measures that can create division and a breakdown of order.
11. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will work to ensure that host countries that offer “African hospitality” to former President Jammeh and his family do not become undue targets of harassment, intimidation and all other pressures and sanctions.
12. In order to assist a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power and the establishment of a new government, HE former President Jammeh will temporarily leave The Gambia on 21 January 2017, without any prejudice to his rights as a citizen, a former President and a Political Party Leader.
13. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that former President Jammeh is at liberty to return to The Gambia at any time of his choosing in accordance with international human rights law and his rights as a citizen of the Gambia and a former head of state.
14. Pursuant to this declaration, ECOWAS will halt any military operations in The Gambia and will continue to pursue peaceful and political resolution of the crisis.
The brother has had control of the whole Gambian Republic since 1994, been eating of the Central Institutions, the donor aid and all sorts of tourism schemes for two decades. He would not have accumulated 13 Luxurious cars in a hot minute. That takes time to invest, find out which that matches his wardrobe and, which that is decent for his wife. Yahya Jammeh has been living lavish and extended that lavish lifestyle to Equatorial Guinea.
Surely, the fellow soldiers who was with him on the day of coup d’état that he would turn into the one they got rid-off. Well, history tends to repeat itself and it has ambushed Jammeh. What surprises me is not that he looted the state coffers, emptied the accounts and allocated it all into the safe haven of Equatorial Guinea. He and his acts in charge of the Republic expect that, Jammeh follows his own modus operandi and that should be sufficient.
I am not defending the acts, but more wondering where the others has been while covering men like him. I am surprised that the local currency isn’t depleted, that the food-stocks is empty, that the army has only knock-offs from the Soviet Army and is barely having more than pangas as working weapons. That is what I would expect of man like Jammeh. That he would leave all institutions flat-out broke and without work force or educated peers to steer the ship. To keep the Central Government that he put into ‘State of Emergency’ on track after a hazardous year, where he finally lost an election to Adama Barrow.
Why should he leave Gambia in a well estate and well-funded with working institutions when he is not running it anyway? He cannot even live in the country and stay in the country that he had been running for two decades. With this in mind, why should he leave anything else than that. Not that his record and reputations would be saved by him graciously leaving. He has already starved opposition in prisons, keep dissenters at bay and used all kind of tricks to control the state. So not like, he will offer mercy and give the people loafs of bread after he is not there. This is coming from the man who said this: “if you didn’t vote for me, don’t expect anything”; I know I am paraphrasing, but the emotion and the reality is the same!
Certainly, the outcome is good, the elected President Barrow get to start his reign in a broke, but free nation. A nation who has support from fellow ECOWAS nations and can find proper ways to fill the coffers and start to rebuild it immediately.
We should expect that he emptied the National Treasury and the Consolidation Funds or whatnot the call it in Gambia. That is what person’s like him do that and that is how they do their trade. Not that it is about justice or rule of law; it is their way and their way of earning their profits. This is not nostalgia or any sorts well he deserves to empty the state coffers. More, well he done it for 20 years already, one more emptying the coffers would not make the giant difference. Not that it justify it, it is morally and legally wrong to steal the taxpayers monies. No doubt, but when he has done so with impunity, you can ask yourself if he would change on the way out the door? Because when he been running the meetings and been the Chairman of the Board he has obliged himself with the state funds.
Certainly, Barrow and the Gambian Republic wished it otherwise, but the republic can now start all over without a torn in their flesh. As Jammeh even leaves with parts of court and his elite. Therefore, some of his loyal leadership that he has created is not there anymore. The men, who ate of Jammeh plate, will not be there to haunt the new regime and administration. Surely, I will without a doubt not be surprised even if he tries to install new party regime in Gambia from a far and use the funds to destabilize the Gambian Republic. Therefore, he can hope to become the Gambian saviour for the second time, with his second coming. This time on a plane from Malabo and Equatorial Guinea. That is for the future to happen and to appear. For now, we can certainly know that the Jammeh Regime, ended where it started, with looting the state coffers in the sake bringing down a dictator in 1994. While installing himself as another one.
Now, it is time for the International Community to support Barrow, give him space to build together create and support peaceful transition of power, from Jammeh and to the citizens of Gambia. Peace.
“a : the state or a period of forced absence from one’s country or home
b : the state or a period of voluntary absence from one’s country or home”
(Meriam-Webster – Exile)
Yesterday was a special day in Banjul, as the incumbent President of 22 years we’re embattled and was besieged by ECOWAS troops, even Senegalese troops had driven around in the The Gambian Republic. This after ECOWAS had tried to mediate with the President Yayha Jammeh as he lost the election in the end of last year. The Declaration of 2nd December gave the Opposition Coalition winner Adama Barrow, as the President we’re left more and more alone, as his legal advisors and cabinet resigned when the President himself order nation into ‘State of Emergency’ days before he was told to leave.
It must be a day of reflection today how the ECOWAS leadership mediated with Executive; they could be more violent and less straight forward. The reasoning with the other President in Alpha Conde from Guinea to mediate and be there as the leaving the republic where near. The conversation and discussion these big-men had must be legendary as Adama Barrow we’re waiting for the time for him to rein as the troops of ECOWAS was all around the Gambia.
The press and pundits we’re waiting all day, there we’re dozens of people waiting on the Yundum International Airports, as the convoy left the State House and then the Hotel. A Hotel the stayed at for hours. As the Opposition and now ruling regime that we’re in Dakar we’re obligated to say, that Jammeh we’re leaving and the final details we’re ironed out for him to go. Jammeh wouldn’t leave without his stolen wealth and gains for the two decades of rule. Ex-President Jammeh had to leave with the gravy and promises of not getting his crimes tried in court. That just the way the Executives execute their wishes, just the way Executives that lead business into bankruptcies as still getting heavy end-packages from the failing companies.
All of this was happening as the South African government and Botswana government didn’t recognize Jammeh as the Executive of Gambia anymore. The waiting yesterday was so long, like the man was thinking people wouldn’t execute the idea and get rid of him. Like he could salvage himself and still be the man. He leaves with wealth and security in a foreign nation. Where a fellow dictator can be his friend and can get use of his investment power. Surely Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea will enjoy having a golfing buddy that has also silently left the opposition in the wind in his days in power. Two friends who knows how to deal with dissident voices, difference is that Obiang still lingers on after a direct coup d’état against his Uncle, Jammeh left after keeping power since 1994.
Barrow will have to work hard to make sure procedure and government institutions are strengthen, as Jammeh has been all about him and his will. Now its different age and the longevity of somebody else should matter on consensus and building institutions of governance, accountability and transparency. None of that is easy, but that is the wishful tale of the Gambian Democracy.
Jammeh into exile isn’t new, that previous Presidents has ended that fate is old. Their hunger for power is eating nations into they are depleted and tired. Therefore the wish for any kind of other leadership ends with them either ending the life of the leader or them sending them far away. Jammeh is lucky who skate off to Equatorial Guinea. That he gets his wealth and his life. That he is not Courtside either in Banjul or at International Criminal Court in Hague in Netherlands. Jammeh could quickly get visitation cards and travel to answer for his crimes against humanity, as only in 2015 he let an opposition leader die inside his prison. That on his orders and his will. We the world will not forget the ones that died so you could stay in power. No matter what sort of island or what sort of lifestyle you have outside of Gambia.
We could look at others who had the same fate and see how easy Jammeh came out of it yesterday, he could have harder outcome and more costly. Some people might say it had been fair as he stole a nation for decades and ruled with an iron fist, with no mercy and therefore, why should the people show him mercy back?
Mengistu in Zimbabwe:
“Shockingly, Mengistu is alleged to have personally murdered opponents by garroting or shooting, saying that he was leading by example” (…) “Still, after his ouster, the government of Zimbabwe readily offered Mengistu sanctuary. Citing the Ethiopian dictator’s long standing friendship with President Robert Mugabe, Harare made it clear it would not extradite the exiled leader” (…) “For several years after first landing in Zimbabwe, Mengistu reportedly lived a lavish but reclusive life, amid fears over his safety. He resided in a posh Gunhill suburb in Harare. Much as Mengistu kept a low profile, many detested the fact that he was reportedly unrepentant about his past” (…) “In fact, in the very few interviews he gave to the Zimbabwean media, Mengistu said he had no regrets about his rule, arguing that he tried his best for Ethiopia. As matters turned out, not everybody agreed or was happy with Mengistu’s past and he constantly had to look over his shoulder” (Mwagiru, 2015).
Ahidjo in Senegal:
“Also to die in exile was former Cameroonian president Ahmadou Ahidjo, who after being deposed by President Paul Biya spent his remaining years moving between France and Senegal. He died of a heart attack in Dakar on November 30, 1989 and was buried there” (Mwagiru, 2015).
Just as you should know Jammeh took with 13 expensive luxurious cars in a Chadian Cargo Plane yesterday, as token for his gracious years in power of the country. He took with him other needed advisors too like: “Lt. Gen. Saul Badjie, head of the Republican National Guard; Lt. Gen. Umpa Mendy, Personal Protection Officer; Amadou Joof, a senior aide to First Lady Zineb Jammeh; Jimbe Jammeh, Senior Protocol Officer, some few soldiers and other officials who may be wanted” (…) “Those traveling with Jammeh are also taking their immediate families with them in exile” (Phatey, 2017). Surely this opens the window of further plans in the future to gain power again, if not make a Gambian village in Equatorial Guinea. This certainly proves that Jammeh elite has run with him and had to be covered in the agreement made between ECOWAS and Jammeh for him to able to step down.
What is positive is that even if Jammeh leaves with a lavish lifestyle he hasn’t been promised or signed an agreement offering immunity. Therefore his past can hunt him in the island paradise with his fellow elite. Jammeh can also by fellow allies of Gambia get him warranted to be tried in Banjul. That is depending on cases or filing of cases towards his time as the President. That is only time can tell, but now the importance is what Barrow and his regime will do. What Barrow will put in play and how he will be leading the Gambian Republic! That is up to Barrow and what sort of leader he is. Peace.
Mwagiru, Ciugu – ‘The often sordid history of toppled and exiled African leaders’ (23.04.2015) link: http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/magazine/Exiled-African-leaders–A-curse-or-justice-/434746-2694838-256568/index.html
Phatey, Sam – ‘Gen. Badjie, other close aides gone into exile with Jammeh’ (21.01.2017) link: https://gambia.smbcgo.com/2017/01/21/gen-badjie-close-aides-gone-exile-jammeh/