Gambia’s Bandit, Yaya Jammeh, Bamboozles Liberia’s Johnson Sirleaf

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By Ebrima G. Sankareh, Editor-in-Chief

In a politically choreographed speech aired over Gambia Radio & TV Services (GRTS) late Sunday night, The Gambia’s Chief bandit, President Yaya Jammeh, brought to bear, his true character as a master trickster; a phenomenal fraudster with unparalleled determination to outfox and outmanoeuvre the entire universe especially, at a time when the international media is beamed on the mini West African nation following an election stalemate he single-handedly engineered and now portends political cataclysm for a very peaceful people.

Having exhausted almost all reasonable avenues-both legal and political, to resolve his doctored political crisis in The Gambia’s recently concluded Presidential election that supposedly sent him packing, Yaya Jammeh, aware of the looming danger if he fails to step down on January 19, rang up Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, making reasonable suggestions to broker peace in The Gambia with strong promises of respecting The Constitution. This, in the wake of him refusing to step down peacefully, despite two high profile visits to Banjul by respected statesmen—Buhari, Sirleaf herself, Koroma, Mahama and UN’s Africa envoy, Chambers.

As Chairperson of the regional economic grouping ECOWAS, Madam John Sirleaf suggested that Jammeh immediately make a brief statement to that effect to potentially help allay the fears of the population, while promising to also, communicate the details of the conversation with fellow Heads of state within ECOWAS as a welcome development for the triumph of peace in The Gambia. Throughout the entire parley, Jammeh can be seen in the video clip reading from a legally scripted text and consistently flashing his ominous smile that Gambians have come to read as a harbinger of violence. While most humans smile and laugh to punctuate happiness and fellowship, Gambia’s Jammeh has a smile that signals potential violence on a peaceful nation that has lost all her innocence since he ascended to the pinnacle of political power on July 22, 1994.

Curiously, what the Liberian leader did not know was that true to character, The Gambia’s Chief bandit, Yaya Jammeh, had placed her on speakerphone, and then recorded their entire 9.4 minute conversation like a home run, to be aired on Gambian TV during primetime news. Not even Russia’s KGB are this mischievous especially, between friendly leaders where the victim is old enough to be the trickster’s grandmother particularly, in a continent where age remains a powerful social currency. Unfortunately, our character at State House continues to behave like an overgrown high school bully and even after 22 years in power, Yaya Jammeh is still learning the art of leadership despite all the impressive accolades of Dr., Professor, Babili Mansa, Nazeeru Deen and what have you?

So as instructed by ECOWAS Chairwoman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Jammeh who utterly lacks sematic precision, adorned in white robes, mysterious rosaries and a Quran in hand, took to the airwaves as in an unprecedented feat of political caricature, and hurray…, Gambia’s political Okonkwo has once again, won the wrestling contest! But has he? You ponder!

He boasts of having a conversation with his sister, the Liberian leader, and assured Gambians that they were working out the modalities for a peaceful resolution of the disputed election which he lost, conceded and then recanted with irksome shenanigans. He also reveals that tomorrow, Monday January 16, Gambia’s rubberstamp National Assembly that notoriously votes in unison over most matters illegal, will convene for three days to debate and make landmark laws for the benefit of all Gambians. Atop of  the proposed landmark legislations The Echo has reliably gathered, is to grant President Jammeh and his entire government blanket amnesty for all wrongdoings advertent or otherwise, that they may have committed since July 22, 1994 and to indemnify all of them from any potential criminal charges for eternity.

As if to validate his allegations since most Gambians have found Jammeh be a pathological liar and an irredeemably corrupt murderer, just moments after his announcement, he shocked the entire population (and by now the entire world), by replaying his confidential taped conversation with Madam Johnson Sirleaf so everybody can believe him that even the ECOWAS, was now willing to give Mr. Jammeh a chance to sell his legal case; a case that refuses to see the light of day as the country’s redundant  Supreme Court lacks judges to hear his shameless petition, the value of a malodourous toilet paper.

Several legal luminaries who spoke to this reporter on conditions of anonymity say MPs who follow Jammeh in this path may as well sign their political death warrants as any such legislation tantamount to High Treason, as it is calculated effort to subvert the expressed will of the Gambian people and a flagrant violation of the 1997 Constitution of The Republic of The Gambia. As we went to press, there are credible reports abound of some parliamentarians who, conscious of this provision, went into hiding so as to be absent from Monday’s planned deliberations lest they be subsequently charged with treason after Jammeh’s exit from State House.

Significantly, The Gambia Echo has gathered from within Mr. Jammeh’s government that secretly recording confidential conversations with visiting Heads of state and other unsuspecting dignitaries is the mercurial leader’s favourite game. For instance, in the first days of the July 1994 coup, he allegedly recorded President Abdou Diouf and minutes after the recording, he wanted to air the tape on Radio Gambia so as to humiliate the former Senegalese leader but that tape failed him. “Mr. Jammeh was so furious that he immediately wanted to sack a senior soldier who helped him record Addou Diouf and for the intercession of his ex-wife, Tuti Faal, that officer was spared the boot.”

In more recent developments, our sources reveal that there are several Senegalese and Guinean political leaders that Mr. Jammeh has invited to Banjul and set them up with women only to videotape all the night’s activities without neither party knowing of the traps. “Mr. Sankareh, I can assure that the President has some very damning tapes that he likes to watch and laugh when he is less free and anytime those tapes are leaked, some leaders in Senegal and other nations in Africa will have to resign their jobs” our source reveals with confidence. “The President also does this to some of his own ministers, senior military officers and civil servants and each time they make noise, he threatens to go to town on them” our source reports.

For now though, it remains to be seen how Madam Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s strong woman, the first female President in Africa and 2011 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who wields enough political gravitas both in Africa and globally, will digest Mr. Jammeh’s latest shenanigans calculated to undermine  a distinguished colleague and by extension, ECOWAS, only to promote his self-perpetuating agenda of ruling The Gambia ‘for a billion years.’ For Gambians though, the act represents the latest scheme to bamboozle Madam Sirleaf and her organization to buy time and potentially destabilise Gambia.

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