The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, managed to make reference to former Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, during his trip to the country on Tuesday, February 14, 2017.
Johnson in a 43-seconds video posted on his Twitter handle referred to Jammeh as ‘the guy who was really holding things up.’ Jammeh is currently in Equatorial Guinea after flying out of the country two days after the expiration of his mandate.
The UK’s top diplomat expressed his excitement at the visit and also announced that the UK embassy was going to be upgraded to a High Commission as The Gambia begins processes to rejoin the Commonwealth. A full transcript of what he said is produced below.
There has just been a change of government and a new administration under President Barrow, they got rid of the guy who was really holding things up and they want to take the country forward.
‘‘Hi people, it’s Boris Johnson here. I’m the first foreign secretary to have visited the Gambia for as long as anybody could remember and I’m here in Banjul, capital of the Gambia at a very exciting time.
‘‘Because there has just been a change of government and a new administration under President Barrow, they got rid of the guy who was really holding things up and they want to take the country forward.
‘‘And the UK is there to help on education, on infrastructure on boosting tourism as well, and very good news, our wonderful embassy is about to become a high commission once again because the Gambia is rejoining the Commonwealth.’‘
Jammeh lost the December 1, 2016 polls to opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow. He accepted defeat before backtracking citing irregularities and intimidation of his supporters. Mediation by the regional bloc, ECOWAS, failed after which forces were deployed to oust him.
He accepted to leave the country after last-minute mediation by presidents of Guinea and Mauritania. Jammeh ruled the country for 22 years after deposing its first president, Dawda Jawara in 1994. He took the country out of the Commonwealth and was leading them out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Barrow-led administration has started processes to rejoin both groups. Jammeh’s era was notorious for abuse of rights of media and opposition. Jammeh was on record to have said he will rule for a billion years if it was the will of God.
Fantastic trip to The Gambia – thank you for the warm welcome. On to Ghana! pic.twitter.com/oxzHmj3KxT— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 14, 2017