Jammeh Announces Exit, Qatari Foreign Minister Arrives in Dakar En route to Gambia; Exile Negotiations Continue

by editor | January 21, 2017 4:49 am

By Ebrima G. Sankareh, Editor-in-Chief

Only moments ago, The Gambia’s former President, Yaya A.J.J. Jammeh, told a nervous nation, that he has finally decided to relinquish power to preserve the peace and security of the mini West African state that has for weeks now, teetered on the brink of political catastrophe as a recalcitrant Mr. Jammeh clings onto power willy-nilly despite suffering a humiliating defeat in the December 1, 2016 Presidential election that catapulted hitherto unknown property developer, Adama Barrow, atop of the fiercely contested election.

His highly anticipated announcement over Gambia Radio & TV Services while a significant development considering the unending phone calls from numerous Gambians across the world who nervously called our newsroom desperate to know when Mr. Jammeh leaves The Gambia,  still leaves some equally significant questions lingering. When is he finally leaving The Gambia and where exactly, is the despot headed to? Profoundly pertinent questions given the Sheriff of Kanilai’s long hands of villainy that can potentially unleash mayhem on a volatile political environment like ours. Given Mauritania and Conakry’s geographical proximity to Guinea Bissau and Cassamance and by extension, The Gambia, his presence in either nation poses a lethal danger to our stability for, for the past two decades, the tyrant was active in most things evil within the sub-region.

Jammeh Headed to Guinea, Mauritania or Qatar?

Curiously, no sooner had Jammeh concluded his rather brief speech, utterly lacking contrition, magnanimity and presidential grace that shamelessly fails to even mention Mr. Adama Barrow’s name, not to mention congratulating him, The Gambia Echo received incontrovertible reports that moments ago, Qatari Foreign Minister landed at Yoff International Airport, Dakar, Senegal and will proceed to Banjul to join the negotiating team over Gambia’s political stalemate.

According to our most competent sources, this latest diplomatic manoeuvre arose out of Mr. Jammeh’s security concerns and insistence that he does not suffer the same fate Liberia’s former leader, Charles Bankey Taylor, suffered from his Nigerian hosts who extradited him to Sierra Leone for criminal prosecutions on war crimes and crimes of genocide.

Contrary to our previous report that former President Yaya Jammeh goes into exile Saturday, our highly-placed and credible source at the State House insists that although Mr. Jammeh has announced relinquishing power, he has not yet finalized, exactly when he exits State House and when he proceeds to exile. “This is why the Qataris came to the scene because, as you may know, the former President of Mauritania lives in Qatar as an exile and there are no fears for potential extraditions” our source revealed.

According my source, after intense diplomatic negotiations with the two Heads of state and the UN Africa envoy, Ibn Chambers, the entire day, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz leaves Banjul tonight while his Guinean colleague, President Alpha Condo, spends the night until Saturday.

Asked if President Conde was spending the night so he could go with Mr. Jammeh, our source says Mr. Jammeh plans to visit his native Kanilai  Saturday and may be, may be, Mr. Conde then leaves with him in the company of the Qatari envoy. Quizzed further if Mr. Jammeh preferred Qatar to Guinea, our source answers in the affirmative; that “that was what it looks like as H. E. wants guaranteed amnesty for him and members of his regime for any and all mistakes or wrongdoings that they may have done in the course of his tenure”.

As we went to press, The Gambia Echo has gathered that among his numerous offshore accounts in Guinea, Morocco, the Canaries and elsewhere, Mr. Jammeh also maintains a Qatari account in excess of $500Million (five hundred million US dollars). Just last June, he bought a property on 5630 16th St NW, Washington, DC, worth $3Million that now headquarters the Gambian embassy. Over the past two weeks, The Gambia Echo has been receiving some useful information regarding the entire transactions leading to the purchase of the Washington Embassy and at a later date, we hope to produce a comprehensive report on it.

Based on the veracity of this report, it  now appears that while sustained diplomatic pressure and heavy military presence in Banjul may have been helpful in forcing Jammeh to negotiate, true to character, he remains erratic and unpredictable as ever.

In these uncertain times, It appears that Mr. Jammeh or his surrogates have taken on Cyberwar as numerous Facebook and Tweeter accounts proliferate Gambian social media with each tweet and Facebook entry adding chaos to the messy uncertainty.

Alas, Gambia has entered the realm of citizen journalism where pseudonyms are created and with no editorial control, people can freely express their opinions sometimes at a cost; a potentially very scary cost one must add.

Significantly, lest we forget, Jammeh has presided over The Gambia for over two painful decades making me wonder if the entire APRC National Assembly Members especially, the  Speaker, the Majority Leader and his Deputy in this opprobrious Assembly of charlatans should not be taken to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital for serious psychological and psychiatric evaluations given all their unwavering support and illegal extension of his tenure to continue to unleash hell on an already tortured populace that now feels a sigh of relief with gaping scars to heal.

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