The recently concluded elections in The Gambia have left Jammeh bitter and in a despondent mood. The strong statement by ECOWAS ruling that the repressive atmosphere in The Gambia would not allow for a free and fair elections has left Jammeh feeling rejected and ostracized by his fellow West African Presidents.
As I have previously reported here before, the entirety of the ECOWAS leadership sees Yaya Jammeh as a buffoon who makes African leaders the butt of jokes at the hands of racists around the world. The forefront of the anti-Jammeh movement is largely led by Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Guinea.
As I have reported before, the Nigerians hate Jammeh because of his support for Sani Abacha who oppressed them for so many years. The Senegalese are motivated by Jammeh’s support for the Casamance rebels.
The Ivoirians because Gambia is the only country in the world not to recognize Outarra as President of Ivory Coast. The Guineans because they believe that Jammeh not only helped Lasana Conteh loot their country, but that he and his wife are behind attempts at assassinating President Conde. The Ghanaians generally are angry about the murder of 50 of their nationals at the hands of Jammeh’s henchmen.
The strategic environment has also changed significantly in ECOWAS since 1994. With the exception of Jammeh, all the West African Presidents were elected in elections deemed free and fair by the international community. Democracy, free and fair elections have become the norm in West Africa (in addition to the rest of the world).
The sad fact however remains that the Gambian opposition make it so difficult for the international community to fight to remove Jammeh from power.
Rather than refuse to be part of the obviously unfair electoral process, Ousainou Darboe and Hamat Bah decided to stand largely motivated by a chance to raise funds for their so-called campaigns. Now that they have collected the monies, don’t expect to hear from them for another 5 years.
As reported elsewhere, they were unable to field agents in many of the polls. So, they were never in a position to verify the results. For example, many other writers have pointed out the incongruity of having 800,000 register voters in a country of 1.7 million in which there are at least 600,000 Senegalese. Winning elections is however not the priority of the Gambian opposition.
Moving forward, we expect to see a test of wills between Jammeh and ECOWAS. Jammeh has always been dismissive of ECOWAS. But he should remember that it was ECOWAS that was very instrumental in the overthrow or defeat of Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, the RUF rebels, and even his friend Laurent Gbagbo.
Freedom Newspaper: Jammeh Facing a Crisis of Illegitimacy!