In the wake of the political crisis in The Gambia, one person has had something to say at every turn of the process. Exiled Yahya Jammeh was seen more on State Television through the duration.
From the lead up to the polls through to his concession and subsequent rejection of the December 1 poll results. He also had some words for ECOWAS, he delivered a Christmas and New Year message at some point.
Then there was the episode with the ECOWAS chair which a shocked Sirleaf referred to as a ruse and highly undiplomatic move by Jammeh and then of course there was his last presidential act, the declaration of a state of emergency with days to the expiration of his mandate.
We pool together some of Jammeh’s declarations, his jibes and warnings over the period. It includes a declaration of war, a poll cancellation, a plea to have judges sit on his case and an assurance to Gambians and foreigners that they should feel safe amid the political tensions.
With days to the elections Jammeh told teeming supporters of his party at a rally
‘’‘Our campaign is focusing on peace and security and not for violence. Violence is like bushfire. You can know where it starts but you won’t know where it will end. Therefore let us campaign peacefully, vote peacefully and then celebrate our victory.”
December 3, in a televised call to then President-elect Adama Barrow, Jammeh promised to cooperate
‘‘I am calling you to wish you all the best. The Gambian people have spoken and I have no reason to contest the will of the mighty Allah. I wish you all the best, the country will be in your hands in January and you are assured of my guidance on your transition and when selecting a government.
“But you have to work with me as I plan to go to Kanilai and hand over the State House to you. You are the elected president of the Gambia and I wish you all the best. I have no ill will and I wish you all the best.’‘
A week later, Jammeh rejects. He appeared on State TV on 9th January to announce his U-turn
‘‘I want to make it very clear, in the same way I accept the results on the basis that the IEC is independent, I will not accept the result. I reject the results. I hereby annul the results and we will go back to the polls.’‘
During meeting with African Bar Association, Jammeh takes aim at ECOWAS’s biased mediation
‘‘I said how the hell do you know this is the will of the Gambian people? I will not be intimidated by any power in this world. “I want to make sure that justice is done, I am a man of peace but I cannot also be a coward.
‘‘My rights cannot be violated and intimidated to a point where I succumb to blackmail, I will never do that,” Jammeh stressed.
Jammeh on the defensive, issues New Year message warning ECOWAS – January 1, 2017
‘‘Let me make it clear. Most if not all the reasons advanced for me to re-embrace my initial position are fears of a military confrontation that leads to violence and concern for an outbreak of war in this peaceful country of ours. A military confrontation with who?’‘
‘‘It (ECOWAS position) is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution. It is therefore absolutely unacceptable. This blatant, impartial and one-dimensional approach clearly indicates that the role of ECOWAS is not predicated on the pursuit of justice in the resolution of this stalemate.
Sober Jammeh begs for ECOWAS judges in a diplomatic stunt, Sirleaf described as a ‘ruse’
‘‘With regards to our last meeting when you came here, I want to request your assistance as the chairperson of the ECOWAS authority of Heads of State. To help us resolve this impasse peacefully through the courts.
‘‘I hereby request you for ECOWAS to facilitate the release of the judges so that they can come and help us resolve constitutionally (through the constitution of the Gambia). As I said, the only peaceful resolution of this impasse is through the courts.
11th January, 2017; barely a week to end of his tenure Jammeh releases an executive order
“I hereby issue an executive order to that effect that nobody be arrested or prosecuted due to acts or omissions in the pre and post electoral period from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017
Jammeh says he is the number 1 fan of The Gambia
“I assure everyone that as a Gambian, a Muslim, and a family man no foreigner can love this country and hold its highest interest of heart more than myself and the majority of Gambians. So I will also be taking all possible steps within the constitution and my conscience to do my part to resolve this impasse,” he said.
No cause for alarm (locals and foreigners) let all business continue as usual
“As we are all human and bound to make mistakes, we therefore accept this as a test on our faith … I ask all Gambians and other nationals in the country to go about their business in peace and security and I assure you that Allah willing all will continue to be well and this will all be resolved in peace.”
Jammeh’s last act, declaration of 90-day State of Emergency – January 17, 2017
I, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh Babili Mansa, President of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, and Commander-In-Chief of the Gambian armed forces, acting under the provisions of Section 34, sub-section one, paragraph B of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, today the 17th of January, 2017, hereby declare a state of public emergency throughout the Islamic Republic of the Gambia. As situation exists, which if it is allowed to continue, may lead to a state of public emergency.”
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Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa
Africanews, web journalist
Congo, Pointe Noire