Jammeh must go now, or get pushed
EVERYTHING, except God’s Kingdom, comes to an end. These words by Edward Anthony Gomez, the lawyer of power-drunk Yahya Jammeh, could come back to haunt the under-siege former president of The Gambia. Strongman Jammeh refuses to relinquish power after losing an election last month, and has instead extended his term of office by 90 days and imposed a state of emergency, plunging the tiny West African country into political turmoil.
Now exiled in neighbouring Senegal, Gomez joins a long list of former allies of Jammeh, former ministers and West African leaders calling on him to do the right thing and hand over power.
The December 1 loss ended his 22-year grip to power and raised hopes of a new, democratic beginning for The Gambia.
Jammeh, who had earlier conceded defeat and congratulated winner Adama Barrow, somersaulted, fearing he could be made to account for the atrocities committed during his reign since taking over in a coup in 1994.
But he has bitten off more than he can chew and faces being smoked out like former Senegalese President Laurent Gbagbo. East African leaders, including neighbours Senegal, and powerhouses Ghana and Nigeria, where political winds of change have blown in recent times, have firmly told Jammeh: go or we are coming for you.
The leaders of the three countries won elections and power was transferred peacefully, so their move is in the best interests of democracy and peace in the region. A crisis in The Gambia affects their countries, who have to deal with the flood of refugees.
Ecowas forces were yesterday ready to go in and force him out, while Barrow was to be inaugurated as the new president at an embassy and under heavy guard.
This move by the regional bloc sends a strong message to other dictators that they must respect the wishes of the people and leave office when they lose elections. This message must also be sent to the rest of the continent that the era of leaders who hang onto power against the wishes of the people is over.
Jammeh must go now. Or be forced out. One more unstable African country is one too many. Our continent deserves better.