The Gambia: Respect for Law, Justice and Other State Institutions Has Died Down at the Expense of Dictators.

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Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down despite the pressure
Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down despite the pressure

Africa is the continent with the biggest number of dictatorial regimes. Many countries in Africa haven’t seen more than ten presidents and those that have, are mostly likely to have achieved that through militaristic approaches. For some reason, whenever an African is elected into power or fights their way into it, they never want to step down.

In Gambia, even after the electoral results had showed that the people had favored opposition candidate, Adama Barrow, the incumbent, Yahya Jammeh, rejected the results. Funny bit of this is that the President, who has ruled the country for 22 years since the coup in 1994, had originally conceded defeat. He then changed his statement saying that the process was ridged. Adama, who is president elect, like 26,000 other Gambians, fled the country for some sort of asylum in Senegal.

Today, Adama will go ahead with his inauguration at the Gambian Embassy in Senegal’s capital Darka. He is backed by Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana. These have promised military intervention to kick out the hothead president, if that’s what it takes. Senegal’s foreign affairs minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, called on the UN Security Council for a meeting to make a statement on the crisis.

The conundrum continues in the Gambia with big worries for the natives as Jammeh declares a state of emergence. That should help with his over-stay… a country run on decree without the rule of law or justice checks! This will be his time to continue the detainment, torture and killing of anyone that opposes him. He has already warned of violent handling of anyone that heads to the streets to cause disorder. The Gambian borders are now closed and experts say the country is now technically under lock-down. However, constitutionally, the state of emergency lasts only 90 days… not that he will respect that either.

Should foreign militaristic intervention happen, what will hold Jammeh up? Seeing as he attained power with force, he surely has a force to back him. There are militant groups that are staunchly loyal to Jammeh: the Jungullers and the State Guard (his personal police) that will fight for him to the end.

Looking at the general world political standings, Jammeh will surely lose this one. It is on rare occasions that African countries send in troops to dethrone an African president, without being called upon. To that, add the intervention that may come from stronger forces. One of Trump’s pledges was to eliminate African dictators and this particular one, should he survive long enough for Trump to notice, shall be ticked off the list first.

Eight ministers have resigned from the Jammeh administration under 48 hours. There has been total loss of democracy and diplomacy in Gambia. Adama’s win was mostly facilitated by youths which at first instilled hope for the power of the people. Not for long though; the following week, Yahya Jammeh withdrew his conceding statement and said there were irregularities. The African Union has given its view on Jammeh saying that it was “null and void” because he had first accepted the defeat.

This isn’t the first case of a dictator rejecting defeat and neither will it be the last. There are a dozen more countries governed by dictators and all those will leave power vacuums if not thrown out. It is important to note however that there is a difference with the Gambia situation… Yahya Jammeh first acknowledged defeat.

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Kenneth is currently a Mass Communication student at St Lawrence University. He holds a certificate in History and Literature. He is a social political critique, good creative writer and a poet.