Sunday, February 25, 2024

Revisiting Yahya Jammeh – REWIND

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Ten years ago, in November 2006, Al Jazeera English was launched. To mark that anniversary, we’ve created REWIND, which updates some of the channel’s most memorable and award-winning documentaries of the past decade. We find out what happened to some of the characters in those films and ask how the stories have developed in the years since our cameras left.

In January 2017, The Gambia’s president, Yahya Jammeh, stepped down after briefly contesting the results of an election which had brought to an end his 22 years in power.

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But Jammeh was not a man who would relinquish power easily. It took international condemnation and the threat of armed forces from Senegal, backed by regional governments, before he would step aside in favour of newly elected Adama Barrow.

Back in 2007, Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons travelled to The Gambia to meet then-President Yahya Jammeh and found himself spending time with a charismatic leader who believed he could personally cure asthma and even Aids.

To update the film, REWIND spoke to Al Jazeera correspondent Nicolas Haque about the curious staying power of the country’s former dictator.

“This idea that he could heal HIV and Aids, this disease that affects so many people, was seen in Gambia as a way for him to enforce his position of power,” Haque said.

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