JAMMEH, THE UNRELENTING TYRANT
BY SARJO BAYANG
Looking other side of same coin
The big Issue of Gambia
Unable to perform the duty calls of president in 20 years forced rule, Yaya Jammeh needed to be honest by graceful surrender of a job he was never invited to take. Instead, Jammeh is now out to abandon this most important national duty and pushing to be crowned king. It doesn’t add up by all reasonable account of political correctness. Worst of it all, the matter is not open to public debate but forced down the throat of unwilling citizens who still have power to refuse even at a cost. For one person to seize power by force of guns, became president; unable to perform then seeking to be crowned king is the most drastic and unjust form of palace coup; one in which Gambia lost two presidential posts by force of one invader Yahya Jammeh.
Any sensible person who fails to deliver in public office will be seen fairest by stepping down so that more capable persons take on. When he staged a coup in July 1994 what Yahya Jammeh succeeded doing is rendering the post of president defunct by dismantling structures and systematic dispensation that makes such a high post truly functional. Put in practical perspective Yaya Jammeh of Gambia stole the high seat of president, abused it for 20 years and now out to abandon the good post. Next twist of matters Yaya wants to be crowned king of Gambia without consultation with key stakeholders; the citizenry.
All those who insist on making Yahya Jammeh king of Gambia after he so woefully failed the nation as president never by clean choice of people have no sensible explanation why this got to happen. There was no stakeholder consultation. The situation derails from all due process. Nothing has been placed before Gambian people for national debate regarding this most unprecedented drift from democracy to monarchy.
Who will foot the bills?
Cost of establishment and maintenance of monarchy in Gambia is hard to imagine; facts beyond figures. Already the country is sinking in the uncaring hands of a rubber stamp parliament dancing to dictates of all imposing Yaya Jammeh who wants to use the instruments and platform of elected representatives to endorse his long churned plan of becoming king where one is never needed. Opinion is largely swinging on the part of those who object and reject the plan of Gambia as monarchy. Even if transformation from democracy to monarchy appears the best political outfit for Gambia it is most improper that a sitting president becomes king after 20 years failure with untold hardship imposed on all and sundry. Gambians deserve full stop and total break from this self-perpetuation. To push ahead with this idea is seen most absurd and unjustifiable. Gambia is taking the most risky political venture that can backfire with devastating effects.
Denying the Citizenry Choice
Sycophants and lame duck zombies are crawling all around the country with sinister plans of imposing on Gambian people to accept swallowing a poison concoction. A high jump from presidency to monarchy is poisonous to the country’s political atmosphere. No reasonable person accepts transformation of a sitting president to become king overnight. In the absence of due consultation with the citizenry and subjecting the matter to national debate, the whole move is nothing but a palace coup of most bizarre proportion. Since becoming head of state, Yaya Jammeh is known for breaking all regulations of systematic governance. He rules by decree with no respect for constitution and laws of Gambia.
By his unique mentality about powers bestowed on an elected president Yaya Jammeh takes it that he owns everything meant for Gambian public. Such is how serious matters stand when someone is so overwhelmed and intoxicated with power by force. Gambian people are never consulted for matters of public interest. In fact Yaya is not the type of person who trusts good opinion. For him it is a matter of commanding exclusive powers above everyone. He does what he likes without being challenged. He tested such waters with utter impunity.
Jammeh experimented on real national economy, real living humans, public finance, platform and system of governance, grossly disregarding rules, just because he occupies the seat of president. Having done so much wrong without being challenged gives Yaya Jammeh ample confidence that he is free to abandon the seat of president and get crowned as king. This time he is out to face it differently.
Two presidents deposed without succession plan
Led by Yahya Jammeh in what they described as bloodless coup, government and presidency of Sir Dawda Jawara suffered serious blow when junior rankers of Gambia Army dislodged the 30 year regime on 22 July 1944 without lawful occasion. Immediately after seizing power by force of guns, first political victim of the occasion was Sir Dawda Jawara not just by loss of high office occupancy. The name of president was equally dislodged as Jammeh had no legitimacy to be called president even though he occupied the highest seat of political power. He chose to be called Chairman Supreme Council of the Revolution. Quickly he added Head of State. Quite an interesting twist as Jammeh eventually declared he was resigning from the army to contest elections as civilian. Trouble was looming over Gambian political space as the nation and people fell in the crude hands of novice with no sense of direction amidst pursuing selfish interest in getting rich quick from abusing state resources.
By time of July 1994 coup, deposed President Sir Dawda Jawara had no immediate succession plan known to Gambian public. He departed his fine office and good post without the occasion of proper handing over. Sir Dawda lost his position along all rightful duties and Gambia lost a president who never had chance to say good bye. From that time and now 20 years, Yahya Jammeh who replaced Sir Dawda by force steadily found the load of leading a nation heavier than he imagined it. Instead of decent exit from forced rule, Jammeh wants to shift position from president to king. He is not telling Gambians whatever happens to the high public position. That is the second treasonable offence by Yahya Jammeh dislodging Gambia’s sitting president from power without lawful occasion.
Something Yaya Jammeh seems to be missing his steps on is that as occupier of Gambian presidency he is still not the creator of that post. His move is typical case of palace coup without the occasion of succession planning. Granted that Yaya Jammeh is unable to stay on as president due to critical nature of this important office, the least he could do is by clean exit of resigning. Gambian constitution has no provision that a sitting president has power to swing about like Jammeh insists doing. Jammeh having to abandon the seat of Gambian president without due process amounts to another treasonable offence. The crime is even more severe where he chooses to trade the post with that of king without consulting the citizenry. If Jammeh is unfit to carry on as president, Gambian constitution generously provides for replacement of an insane or physically infirm leader. Jammeh must submit before competent Gambians full account of his 20 years misrule and not simply be permitted to jump boat from presidency to monarchy.
Politically Incorrect Actions
Viewed from realistic perspective, the musical chair move in shifting seat of president to king is politically incorrect under current state of affairs in Gambia. There is no felt-need for it by occasion of public desire for such dramatic change. More seriously it is very wrong for a president who abused the seat of power in 20 years to jump position through no consultation by coming up with the idea of wanting to get crowned as king. Yaya Jammeh thinking he is free to get crowned after failing the nation in carrying out rightful duties of president is gravely misleading. Gambia belongs to all those that call the country home. Even those living abroad for long periods have real stake. They represent a constituent of key stakeholders in deciding about the nation’s matters. It is not enough for handful of Jammeh sycophants and blind supporters to feel like jumping the moon by wild thoughts of crowning him king although he has been behaving that way long enough.
Now the time of truth has come. Gambia cannot be traded or mortgaged by few selfish persons with no consideration to consequences this move will impose on coming generations. If Jammeh is tired of forcing Gambians to accept him as president, people too are equally fed up with him. Most civilised behaviour by dictates of good reasoning is for Jammeh to surrender the post gracefully having to step down. In the good hands of more capable persons, recovery from 20 years Jammeh wreckage is no impossible task. People need full stop and total break from self- perpetuation and dictatorship of a type never seen before. Jammeh deceived Gambians and shifted position from army captain to president. He can’t fool people this time without consequences. He pretended resigning from the army to contest elections. In all 20 years misrule, the character and conducts of Yahya Jammeh remain that of full blown army leader with Gambia turned into typical police state.
Gambians not prepared for another uncertainty
Given the benefit of doubt from start Yaya Jammeh extended his sphere of political dominance until today 20 years on. There was a situation of uncertainty with everyone hoping that Jammeh was going to live by his words. He promised ridding Gambia off corruption by assuring good governance with the most transparent and public probing political dispensation. Instead he now reigns many times more corrupt. He blamed Jawara and his government for overstaying and pledged no president would extend beyond two term limits. He now threatens to rule for 1 billion years.
Jammeh promised Gambians everything under the blue sky only to give the nation worst type of dictatorship marred by fatally harmful encounters meted out to opponents, real or perceived. Gambians have endured the most horrifying state of terror before the world came to know. With the truth clearly seen, Gambians are no longer prepared for another scale of deception in blinded uncertainty. This is end of road and moment for a final point of departure separating Gambians from the lethal claws of 20 years dictatorship. The message is clear. Yaya is no longer able to serve as president. Gambia does not have the position of king. Let him surrender the post of president gracefully for best of interests. Will Jammeh still claim allowances and enjoy the privileges of ex-president? Will he continue to hold both titles as combined king and president? Gambian people cannot be left in the dark.
Yahya is disqualified by all accounts
Considering politically active and capable Gambians in such numbers, it is wrong to permit one person leading for so long. Fact of the matter is that with 20 years as president someone like Yaya Jammeh already exhausted his time slot in public office. In all the 20 years, Yahya spent amassing private personal wealth and never genuinely done anything in the best interest of Gambia. He grossly abuses the nation’s presidency, institutions, and all public resources including social capital for his personal gain. He destroyed the whole establishment; instruments and organs of governance. Thanks to Yaya Gambia remains under horrific state of emergency. That person must not be allowed to carry on destroying in another capacity where public funds will be spent and people’s lives prone to further risk of untimely death. Any Gambian thinking that transformation of Yaya Jammeh from president to king is proper, something is wrong with that person. Yaya Jammeh is a bundle of resource risk. He already exhausted all chances given more than enough benefit of doubt. Gambia does not need a king. Yaya can choose settling in Kanilai to enjoy his looted wealth and slave work. He cannot be king. He is dangerous and unreliable.