By Ola Adeola
Yahya Jammeh, once The Gambia’s hero, has seen his stocks terribly falling since he recapitulated from accepting the outcome of the presidential vote won by newly-minted President Adama Barrow.
With the lapse of the 12 noon deadline given Jammeh to voluntarily vacate office, last-ditch efforts are being made by some African leaders to persuade him to do so.
Presidents of Mauritanian and Guinean are said to have headed Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, for talks with ex-President Jammeh.
Apparently, the deadline is pushed back, while the UN-backed ECOWAS force massed at The Gambia’s borders are on the standby. Equally, the current negotiation for Jammeh’s peaceful exit had also paused Thursday’s entry into The Gambia of Senegalese troops.
Jammeh had ruled the The Gambia – smallest country in Africa’s mainland – for 22 years, having ridden to power through a military coup in 1994. As a young officer, Lt. Yahya Jammeh, as he then was, led a group of young officers in the Gambian National Army to topple President Dawda Jawara from power. It was a bloodless coup, with little resistance.
Jammeh headed the post-Dawara government as chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC). He was at the time 29-year-old.
In 1996, Jammeh founded a political party, named the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, APRC, and elected president in September. Jammeh couldn’t be bothered the election was disapproved as non-credible by local and international observers.
On 18 October 2001, Jammeh was re-elected for a second time, but this time, the election relatively won some credibility ratings from observers. Jammeh survived a military coup on 21 March 2006, led by Army chief of staff Col. Ndure Cham. There were certainly consequences for the coup plotters, among whom were generals, but Cham was not among as he had fled to Senegal.
Few months after the botched coup, precisely
22 September 2006, Jammeh won an election for another term, and, again, re-elected in November 2011. Jammeh’s last term expired with Barrow’s victory.