Diaspora Corner: Political Unrest in The Gambia

I must say, it’s rather funny how Mr. Jammeh lost the 2016 elections after winning five times prior to these elections. The question that arises is how can he possibly lose after the fifth time, Gambian’s love him right? Apparently not. Jammeh being a self-proclaimed dictator made a rookie mistake. He got comfortable in his popularity and thought ‘why not have a transparent election this year?’ and sadly 2016 was the year Gambian’s decided that change needed to come and popularity just didn’t cut it anymore. It’s 2017 for crying out loud, Africa has seen many incompetent presidents who drain the country’s economy and cover it by praising themselves for mediocre infrastructure development such roads (no shade to former president of Ghana… ok, a bit of shade.). It’s 2017, and unfortunately this doesn’t cut it anymore. Change must come, please and thank you uncle.

There are many others in the diaspora who followed the turmoil that occurred in The Gambia and this is what they had to say:

“After 22 years of brutal dictatorship, The Gambia is finally free. Having Gambian parents and regularly visiting home despite being born and raised in England, has resulted in me being extremely patriotic about this small African nation. Adama Barrow is a sign of hope for the Gambian people after 22 long years of suffering, and not only relieves Gambia of not being able to practice free speech but also inspires change. Change not only for The Gambia but also for other African nations where democracy is abused. Now that hope has been restored, the people of The Gambia can only hope and pray that the former President, Jammeh allows this peaceful transition of power to officially take place without the intervention of violence. May God save this small African nation and may justice guide our actions.” – @MariamasTL

“I am genuinely shocked at what’s currently happening in Gambia. How can you be in a position of power that has now expired but decide to hold on to your position in office? I’m annoyed; 22 years of being president, where is democracy? Democracy comes after The Gambia elect someone else that will better present their values and needs, yet this President has just bulldozed over democracy. Tourism is the country’s biggest market which will undoubtedly decrease if he remains in office; essentially a domino effect will occur. I don’t understand why elections in Africa are always tainted like this. It upsets me. I commend Ghana for how they conducted theirs.” – @simplymickaela

“The very challenge that has bought us to where we are today, is we have leaders who are not able to see beyond their life time. Presidents are supposed to be the go to guy, the man with the plan. The premise is that a president is supposed to lead his nation to a win, when times get tough they look at him for answers, expecting him to lead them from their fears and problems. However, Yahya Jammeh has completely upset the apple cart, by inciting that he will inflict violence on the very people he swore to protect. I think the ECOWAS intervention is a step forward for Africa, as it is a demonstration to not only the west, to show that yes Africa can look after itself but also puts individuals like Joseph Kabila of the DRC on notice, that going against the will of the people is no longer acceptable in a 2017 world. If this intervention is successful (I have no doubt it will – Gambia is tiny) it will be written in the history books, as the point ECOWAS took African civilisation and African democracy forward. Yes, it’s that big, we as Africans can no longer lay helpless and wait for a UN “peace” keeping mission, we must be proactive and ECOWAS is doing just that.” -@AchimPashi

“I feel that the state of emergency crisis is more or less an “excuse” for the current president to remain in power. He’s afraid of losing his identity which lasted 22 years and to lose one’s identity is tough. He needs to do the right thing and give up his presidency on the 19th which follows government rules. Intervention from Nigeria and other countries will destabilise Gambia and cause a major backlash in the country when there should be a spark for future change.” – @MichaelChidzz

Albeit Jammeh refusing to step down past the deadline he was given, the situation was not further exacerbated, and Mr Jammeh kindly stepped down without inciting sedition. As I keep saying, even in my personal conversations, it’s 2017 and frankly we don’t have time to waste and thankfully, 2017 is off to a good start – well for Gambian politics that is. There’s simply no time for African political ‘higi haga’ nor ‘gargantuan gaga’ – word to Hon. Patrick Obahiagbo.

By Afia Rachel

@AfiaRach

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Next edition: Monday 12th September

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