By Dida Halake, Notting Hill, London, UK.
Today, 23 December 2016, the BBC quotes out-Going President Jammeh of The Gambia as follows: “I will defend myself, my country, courageously and patriotically and I will win”.
This on the day, as the BBC reports, the Economic Community of West Africa’s (ECOWAS) President announced that a military force led by Senegal is on standby to dislodge Jammeh from the presidency. Jammeh refuses to vacate the presidency having lost the recent election.
Jammeh knows perfectly well that Jammeh will not win this selfish fight for one person to remain in power against the will of the Gambian people. Senegal is not fighting Jammeh alone. Senegal is backed 100% by ECOWAS, USA, UK, EU and much more importantly, France who have a military force in Senegal.
Jammeh advised his friend Charles Taylor to the same effect – Jammeh even offered Taylor sanctuary in The Gambia. Jammeh also similarly advised Ghagbo not to fight: Ghagbo did fight and both Ghagbo and Taylor are serving long jail terms at the ICC today. Jammeh advised Saddam Hussein to the same effect – as Jammeh later advised his pal, Gadaffy. Both Gadaffy and Saddam fought and were found trying to hide in ditches like rats – and are both now dead.
If President Jammeh chooses to fight, as he says he will, his options will be exactly the same – the ICC or death in a ditch.
So, let us come back to Jammeh’s words:
“I will defend myself, my country, courageously and patriotically and I will win”.
Answer to that are as follows:-
Yes, Jammeh, is defending himself – because he is selfish and wants to hold onto the Presidency unlawfully;
No, Jammeh is not defending Gambia because Gambians have voted him out! They have a President-elect to whom all Gambians have pledged loyalty – except Jammeh’s soldiers and police.
No, Jammeh is not being courageous. Courage is accepting defeat like a man and asking your fellow countrymen and women to forgive you all your sins. Or like the famous Japanese warriors, picking up a sword for a personal dignified death.
Finally, NO, NO, NO, there is absolutely nothing “patriotic” about plunging the region into a war and risking the lives of fellow Gambians for purely selfish reasons. Look what Gadaffy did to Libya by refusing to heed Jammeh’s advice to GO!
Jammeh must leave the presidency to President-elect Barrow by 19th January 2017 or Jammeh will, in Halifa Sallah’s words, be “a rebel” – and if Jammeh fights ECOWAS, Jammeh becomes a “Rebel War-Lord” like Charles Taylor. In those circumstances Jammeh’s options will be exactly the same as Charles Taylor’s or Gadaffy’s – the ICC or death in a ditch.