Gambia: Jammeh reaches a political cul de sac


It is indeed quite sad as well as embarrassing to many Gambians keenly following the socio-political events in the Gambia. It is quite hard to see how President Yahya Jammeh can wriggle out of the tight corner that his confrontational brand of politics has put him and the only option apparently now left to him is to call it quits before it is too late. 

DA AND JKIt appears that President Jammeh’s lack of regard for the basic tenets of diplomacy is beginning to catch up with him. He has been on record castigating and insulting virtually everyone; the West, his own counterparts in the region, including the Senegalese leadership, as well as subjecting his opponents at home to all kinds of intimidation and harassment. Therefore, he seems to have succeeded in making enemies of everyone both at home and abroad and with his actions and unguarded comments, he is no doubt making more enemies on a daily basis. 

Therefore, with pressure virtually coming from all directions on him, including the tensions with neighbouring Senegal as a result of the border blockade supposedly imposed by the Senegalese transport unions, any reasonable person would have expected that President Jammeh would try to cultivate some local support to help ward off the external pressure, but instead, he seems to be venting out his anger on the opposition and journalists. He fails to realize that using the security forces to subject his opponents to such high-handed brutalities is certainly not helping his case. Instead, he is getting more and more isolated both at home and abroad, and it is hard to imagine how he can survive such international isolation. 

The very fact that despite his vitriolic verbal onslaughts against Ecowas, he still went to them to adjudicate between him and Senegal over the border blockade, and it was not a surprise to many people that he lost the case against Senegal, apparently because everyone knew that his unilateral actions and the continuous bad mouthing of his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall, no doubt contributed in triggering the border problems. 

However, instead of unifying Gambians to help him confront the external pressures he was being subjected to, he unwisely chose to use the security forces to respond with unprecedented brutality against some opposition activists for peacefully demonstrating against the most undemocratic electoral laws in the sub-region, subjecting them to torture and such brutalities no longer heard anywhere in the modern world.

Obviously, with such negative attitude and behavior, President Jammeh seems to have now lost any goodwill and confidence he enjoyed amongst many Gambians and the international community and the only option now open to him is to call it quits. This is because it is quite impossible for him to regain the goodwill of a majority of his own people, let alone the international community, and things are quite likely to get worse both for him and the country. 

For instance, regardless of the outcome of the current negotiations, it is hard to see how relations between Senegal and the Gambia can ever return to normalcy as long as President Jammeh is in power, and it is only a fool who can believe that the Gambia can manage its own affairs without Senegalese goodwill when Gambians depend on Senegal for quite a lot of things. 

However, listening to President Jammeh’s arrogant response to Guinean President Alpha Conde’s mediation efforts, dismissing any negotiations with Senegal over the border impasse, it is quite hard to see how the suspicion between him and the Macky Sall regime can be overcome. 

It was even interesting to hear President Jammeh say that there are over 950, 000 Senegalese in the Gambia, which even a primary school child knows is far from the reality. It certainly does not make any sense to believe that more than half of the Gambian population are Senegalese. One would wonder where he gets such unrealistic statistics.

Written By D. A. Jawo

Source: Demba Jawo’s Facebook Page


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