Jammeh’s growing belligerence

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By Basidia M Drammeh

Former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh is belligerently poking his nose in Gambia’s domestic politics, making hate speeches and promising his supporters that he will return to the country to restore his legacy that “the incumbent leader President Barrow had destroyed.”

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Jammeh has been living in exile in Equatorial Guinea since his election defeat in 2016 at the hands of the Coalition led by President Adama Barrow.

The former Tyrant must be reminded that the Gambians still have vivid memories of his authoritarian and iron-fist rule that has inflicted immeasurable physical and psychological scars on the Gambian people. Hence, they will make sure that dictatorship never rears its ugly head in the country. Some of the victims of Jammeh’s despotic regime still live with trauma and distress and would like to see him tried for the atrocities he has committed. Countless witnesses, who appeared before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, have narrated agonizing tales of torture, arbitrary detentions, humiliation, forced disappearances, cold-blooded murders, unlawful dismissals, among others. If Jammeh was not the culprit, why didn’t he face the commission to clear his name?  Or is it profanity that prevented him from doing so?

Perhaps unhappy with Jammeh’s failure to bless the marriage between APRC and NPP as well his consequent and frequent attacks on him and his Government, President Barrow issued a rare stern warning against the leader of Gambia Democratic Congress, (GDC) Mamma Kandeh, to refrain from inviting Jammeh to his rallies. Mr. Barrow warned of legal measures if Kandeh continued to invite Jammeh to his political platforms. The latter defiantly reposited, insisting that he would continue to invite Jammeh to his rallies to speak. However, the Government has not met reacted to Kandeh’s defiant action.

Critics would suggest that the blame should be placed at the doorstep of President Barrow, who paved the way for Jammeh to interfere in domestic politics since he extended an olive branch to the former president, allying with his party; and even visiting his family out of “courtesy.”  Since then, Jammeh has frequently been addressing rallies organized by his supporters and rallies.

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Jammeh’s speeches may undermine national security and spark a stifling political crisis in the country if the necessary measures are not taken to clip his wings.

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