Gambia’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh who went into exile on Saturday, January 21st, 2017, arrived at his final destination of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to also start life in exile under a dictatorial regime after 22 years iron-fist rule of the tiny West African country.
Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years rule of The Gambia is exactly the same as his host colleague dictator President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
President Obiang is the longest-serving African dictator with 40 years in power amid persistent accusations of corruption, electoral fraud and even cannibalism.
He came to power in 1979 after ousting his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema in a military coup like Yahya Jammeh came to power in 1994 ousting former President Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
Like the government of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, the nature of Obiang’s government is also non-democratic, since opposition is barely tolerated. The country is currently a one party state controlled by the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE).
This was the same scenario Yahya Jammeh was ruling The Gambia for the past 22 years. He always decreed and unilaterally makes laws that best suits him and his government, the recent of which was the declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic State, the removal of the country from the International Criminal Court and the so-called State of Emergency he declared after loosing the elections which ended his over two decade rule.
Abuses under Obiang includes unlawful killings by security forces; government-sanctioned kidnappings; systematic torture of prisoners and detainees by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention, and incommunicado detention.
These abuses are exactly as in Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years rule in Gambia. During Jammeh’s rule in The Gambia, the culture of persecution and injustice towards citizens remained pervasive, by reference to multiple examples of mistreatment of citizens and non-citizens, including credible allegations of State-directed arrests and torture. Jammeh’s government had no respect for the fundamental human rights of Gambian citizens. Arbitrary arrests and detentions increased on daily basis; security forces continued to harass and mistreat detainees, prisoners, opposition members, journalists, and civilians with impunity. The government infringed on privacy rights and restricted freedom of speech and press. Disappearances and mysterious killings was the order of the day.
President Obiang is also accused of corruption and abuse of power throughout his four decade rule. In accordance with what he called the ‘Basic Law’ of Equatorial Guinea, he appointed his son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue as the country’s Vice President in 2016.
A son by his first wife, Constancia Okomo, the play boy Vice President Obiang Mangue is now going on trial for corruption in France. He is been charged with spending millions in state funds which prosecutors say do not tally with his monthly salary.
Though Yahya Jammeh did not have a grown up son like President Obiang’s son, but his wife Zineb referred to as the ‘Gold digger’ wasted lots of state resources on her personal use.
Zineb Zuma Jammeh was married to Yahya Jammeh in December 1998 and they now have two children. She was born in Rabat, Morocco to Ambassador Soumah, a well respected career diplomat from the distinguished Guinean Soumah family and Mrs. Soumah who hails from Morocco.
Zineb Zuma who holds a Diploma in International Systems and Management as First Lady, ran the Foundation for Women Socio-Economic Advancement (FOWSEA) – a subsidiary of The Jammeh Foundation for Peace. She was also the Chief Patron of several worthy charities which include the Gambian Chapter of the Forum for Women Educationists (FAWEGAM) and Operation Save-a-Baby, a charity devoted to providing assistance to needy new born infants.
While Gambians were dying of hunger and malnutrition, Zineb was in a flamboyant life, flying to France, Dubai, United States and other countries with huge amount of foreign cash. She was frequent of making springs of shoppings and spotted in expensive jewelry and perfume shops around the world and spending thousands of Euros on beauty creams, perfumes, jewelry among other beauty makeups.
In most of her shopping sprees, Zineb Jammeh was accompanied by her daughter Mariam Jammeh plus six or seven bodyguards including her Protocol Staff. Both Zeinab and her daughter Mariam always purchased high price perfumes, makeups, beauty creams, colons and so forth.
Like her mum, Marima Jammeh too is into high spending. She grabbed so many expensive merchandises at the stops. It has always been nerve wrecking to Gambians seeing Zineb and her daughter Mariam making such expensive shopping. One even wonders whether these people are from an impoverished nation called The Gambia.