By Ebrima G. Sankareh, Editor-in-Chief
Ever since the tsunami that hit The Gambia’s political landscape on December 1, 2016, the Government of out-going President Yaya Jammeh continuous to suffer from its cataclysmic reverberations as Gambians and civil society organizations across the spectrum together with Western and regional powers, urge the erratic leader with a penchant for violence to gracefully hand over power to President-elect, Adama Barrow, a taciturn persona who continuous to receive colourful delegations like a Fulani bridegroom in wedding regalia.
Following the high profile defection of Jammeh’s top Washington diplomat, Ambassador Sheikh Omar Faye, last week, followed by 11 others across the world only a few days ago, President Jammeh’s long-time friend and confidant, business mogul and long-time Banjul barrister, Amadou Samba, has joined the call for Mr. Jammeh, the mini West African state’s leader for two decades, to step down graciously in order to preserve the peace and unity of Gambians.
In an exclusive interview with The Gambia Echo from the Senegalese capital, Dakar, a while ago, Samba, the President & CEO of Gacem Company Ltd., quickly acknowledged authorship of a letter dated Friday December 16, 2016 and addressed to out-going President Jammeh that may have been inadvertently leaked to the press and since gone viral on social media. Inter alia, Samba’s letter asks that Mr. Jammeh respect the expressed will of the Gambian electorate and be magnanimous in defeat for the sake of country and people.
Asked what his motivation for the letter is, Mr. Samba unequivocally told this reporter that “The Gambia as a nation is by far greater than Yaya Jammeh. The Gambian people have spoken and their verdict must be respected.”
“I am therefore 100% in support of President-elect Adama Barrow”
Continuing his narration, Samba said “elections were held in a free and fair atmosphere, the Gambian electorate went to the polls and in the end, they chose Adama Barrow and as winner, Mr. Barrow becomes legal President-elect of The Republic of The Gambia, which no sane person should deny.”
Continues Samba, “So, obviously what Yaya Jammeh wants to do is to infringe on the verdict of the Gambian electorate which is not right. It is totally wrong and illegal and I cannot be associated with this gross violation of the people’s will.” “No one should accept this, it should not be accepted and I cannot accept this scandalous violation of the people’s will to change their leadership democratically.”
Reveals Samba, “I am therefore 100% in support of President-elect Adama Barrow who is not only the winner but the undisputed winner of the December 1, 2016 Presidential election, and Yaya Jammeh should honour the will of the Gambian people who he ruled for 22 years.”
According to Samba, West African leaders should continue their efforts to prevail on the Gambian leader to step down peacefully. “I have worked for 35 years as a businessman and like most Gambians, Gambia is home and to see all that we have worked for destroyed by war and senseless violence because of one person’s desire to rule for eternity is unfortunate,” Samba said in a sombre voice. “Whatever they can do to preserve peace in The Gambia, so Yaya Jammeh can exit the political scene without a single drop of Gambian blood will be commendable.”
Asked if he could personally convince Jammeh to step down, the award-winning Banjul barrister with an honorary Doctorate degree from the University of the Gambia reveals that “the man does not want to listen to anybody at this stage, and am really fearful of the potential carnage barring all diplomatic overtures at a peaceful transfer of power.” Our interview ended on a rather emotional note when he concedes, “for me, Banjul remains a no go area until sanity prevails and let’s all pray that they are able to convince Yaya Jammeh to transfer power peacefully and graciously to Mr. Barrow.”
VP Njie Saidy Packs Belongings
Meanwhile, as we went to press, unassailable sources at the Presidential Palace report that longest serving Vice President, Isatou Njie Saidy, has begun packing her belongings from the official VP Residence nestled on the crowns of Fajara overlooking the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. According to our most trusted source, “the VP is busy packing and cleaners are equally busy cleaning the entire premises. She is relocating to her lush private glass house valued at $1.2 Million on Kairaba Avenue in closest proximity to the US Embassy.” Asked if she were jumping ship, our source says “Mr. Sankareh at this stage no one knows what the future holds. What I can confirm is that Aja is packing and cleaners are helping in cleaning the premises and whether or not she is going to jump ship or fight to the death, I cannot say for now.”
In a related development ,our most competent source at the Presidency, Kissy Kissy Mansa, reveals , “while I cannot confirm at this stage the veracity of the story, it appears that Madam Neneh Macdouall Gaye and her Permanent Secretary, Mr. Jarra, were on a mission to secure a safe refuge for President Jammeh in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but the Kingdom has allegedly rejected their plea for political asylum in Saudi.”