AN EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE TYRANT: WHY YAYA JAMMEH IS SO BITTER

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WHY DID YOU ABANDONED ME MUM WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST?

WHY DID YOU ABANDONED ME MUM WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST?

“President Jammeh is a fraud and callously wears a chip of hatred and bitterness on his shoulder”, one of his siblings furiously disclosed. This is a trait of The Gambia’s President Yaya Jammeh that most Gambians are all too familiar with, for many are living witnesses to his vengeance.  But why has a man who supposedly came from a humble beginning turned into such a monster?   His upbringing detailed below might provide some clues.

Contrary to what the forged birth certificate has as his date of birth – President Jammeh was born neither in May nor 1965, his exact date of birth, like most of his generation in rural Gambia, remains disputable and unrecorded. This is due to the fact that before the 1980s, record keeping of child births in the rural areas was almost non-existent because most were delivered at home with no nurses present to keep records of any kind.  Consequently, most provincial Gambians are left with no option but make up their own dates of births around events and celebrations of their choices. President Jammeh settled for the month of May marking African Liberation Day and 1965 to coincide with Gambia’s independence to, as part of his self-mystification, present himself as a pure Pan-Africanist even through birth. “Jammeh is either born in 1962 or 1963 but definitely not in May 1965, the coincidence is way too good to be real”, the source added.

President Jammeh’s father, Junkung Jammeh, had three wives and was never a wrestler as some other reports portrayed. He was renowned drummer mostly during wrestling contests. However, many believed his late father never had a ‘Sulayman’ as a middle name. Perhaps, a possible explanation for Jammeh personally adding the Sulayman to his Dad’s name stems from a mandinka believe Junkung is synonymous to Sulayman. Junkung’s three wives are Yassin Jarju, Fanta Kolley and Asombie Bojang-who was the most beautiful of the three. Fanta had three boys: Araba Jammeh, Seneng Jammeh and Nyandorr Jammeh. Seneng who later baptised into Christianity, died of cancer in 1993 in Mayork after the family moved from Kanilai, as they believed the village was full of witches and blamed their father, Junkung’s death on witchcraft.  Perhaps this explains why Jammeh subjected many of the Foni in March 2009 to brutal witch-hunt rituals in which many old folks lost their lives.

Both Yassin and Asombie had a child each for Junkung. Yassin’s child, Ansumana Jammeh-Gambian Ambassador in Qatar, was born in Sintet and Yahya Jammeh; an only of Asombie was hailed from Kanilai.  Nyandorr also passed away shortly after the demise of his brother. It is reported that he collapsed at Serre Kunda. He was also suspected of having died of cancer. The Jammeh family has a history of cancer and mental illness. His cousins, Kunyaa and Ansu Pajero, all suffered some form of mental issues. His father died in Kunjunjorr, he moved there for treatment after he fell off and sustained a fracture while tying his goat, it was narrated. The old man was never a wrestler but a renowned drummer. He often played during wrestling matches.

In all, there are 3 notable Jammeh Kundas of close ties with the bitter Yaya Kanilai. They are Alkali Kunda, Junkung Jammeh and the one Jejaw hailed from. Jejaw’s family was the one healing fractures and not President Jammeh’s as he claims. Jejaw died in the 60s. President Jammeh had it rough with his father, Junkung. Those close to Asombie recalled that she wanted to abort her pregnancy when she discovered she was carrying Jammeh. It did not come as a surprise to them when she left for Bakau as soon as she gave birth to Jammeh leaving the baby behind.  Jammeh was never breastfed by Asombie but Fanta Kolley, his step mum as Asombie shuttled between Bakau and Bujinga.  She walked out of her marriage because Yahya’s father could hardly make ends meet at the time. She was very pretty and young; marrying Junkung was her biggest mistake, according to sources. Walking out of the marriage gave her the freedom and attention she was craving.  Albeit, she never remarried after walking away from Junkung, she enjoyed her freedom as a young woman.

Young Jammeh was brought up by Fanta Kolley who is a well-known and loved “Kaa-nyaleng”. Kaa-nyalengs are celebrated for manifesting varied and comical emotions sending their audience and spectators into hysteric laughter. Many associate Jammeh’s unpredictability to this gene he inherited from his foster-step mum. Jammeh will be dancing and smiling one minute and frowns the next, a characteristic of the Kaa-nyaleng.  A family insider has it that Jammeh always scolds his mother for abandoning him when he needed her most. Yahya moved to Alfonse Tamba in Banjul after his Common Entrance exams.

As a result of his unstable upbringing and the bad experiences of his childhood, Jammeh’s emotional wellbeing is always rocky, and this is easily manifested when he is reminded of that past.  He killed Harona Jammeh who was always telling him off and admonishing him to stop grabbing land in Kanilai because his family abandoned Kanilai and moved to Mayork. The late Harona Jammeh’s son Tamsir Jammeh works at Drug Squad. He knows Jammeh killed his dad, but he could not confront him lest he kills him too.  Even with Asombi’s intervention, Yaya still hasn’t had the guts to face the family.

So any time Gambians see Yaya lashing out or engaging in erratic behaviour, it mostly emanates from the mental and emotional instability that were caused by both his unstable upbringing and history of mental illness in his family.


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