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Sunday, January 22, 2017


The end of glorious days: Former Gambian leader poses with Michelle and Barack Obama

The end of glorious days: Former Gambian leader poses with Michelle and Barack Obama

Gambia's former leader Yahya Jammeh flew into exile on Saturday without disclosing his destination. Amidst heavy security, he was seen with the Guinean leader, President Alpha Conde, who in the last 48 hours negotiated an exit plan for Jammeh. 

History may repeat itself if Jammeh has to live in Guinea, after ruling the country over two decades. As known, the military takeover in Ghana on February 24, 1966, forced the former Ghanaian leader, Kwame Nkrumah into exile in Guinea, under the administration of his best friend, the late Ahmed Sekou Touré.

The ex-Ghanaian leader was in Guinea for the rest of his life until his death in Bucharest, Romania, after medical treatment.

Jammeh took power in a 1994 coup and ruled Gambia for twenty-two years. Last year, after election, he was defeated by a less popular opponent, Adama Barrow.

Jammeh accepted defeat after the results of the election but suddenly changed his mind, after rumours spread that he may possibly face criminal charges of human rights abuse and violation.

All efforts to persuade him to step down were futile. Eventually, he was deserted by his own government officials. With UN delegates and the Senegalese government behind the winner, Adama Barrow, Jammeh has no choice than to step down. 

As one of the most feared leaders in Gambia's political history, the exit of Jammeh is like a fulfilled dream to many Gambians. "The rule of fear has been banished from Gambia for good," Barrow told a crowd at a Dakar hotel on Friday, once it became clear a deal had been struck for Jammeh to relinquish power.

Jammeh should have stepped down quietly in dignity. That would have given him the respect he deserves and the recognition as a true peaceful African leader. But his stubbornness has generated a lot of hate that he knew his life will be in danger if he lives in his country.

As a price for leaving, Jammeh demanded amnesty, the right to go to and from Gambia and recognition for his political party, said Marcel de Souza, head of the commission of West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

He wasn't wise enough to step down in peace but the fear for his life has forced him finally to accept the advice of the Guinean leader. It may be likely that Yahya Jammeh, like Nkrumah, will stay in Guinea for the rest of his life too. 

The peaceful outcome of Jammeh's exit shows the maturity of African leaders. They don't have to depend on America and European leaders to interfere in African politics. 

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