Yahya Jammeh has ruled West African nation Gambia for 22 years. He seized the power in a coup and once even said he will rule his nation for a “billion years”.
Yet, a few weeks ago, he suffered an election defeat, with his opponent Adama Barrow winning 46 percent of the vote against Jammeh’s 37 percent. This led to celebrations in the streets of the capital Banjul, with many Gambians shouting: “We are free. We won’t be slaves of anyone.”
Before the election, Jammeh said that his “presidency and power are in the hands of Allah and only Allah can take it from me.” Jammeh has been pressured internally and by neighboring countries to concede and peacefully transfer the power. So far Jammeh has refused to admit the defeat.
President Jammeh now issued a press statement explaining why it would be improper of him to peacefully transfer the power:
My people and the whole world must know this. Even if I wanted to peacefully transfer power after losing the election, I could not do it — it would be immoral and unconstitutional.
What a dangerous precedent it would set. Just think how would the whole world look like if every great dictator gave up power every time he lost an election?!
The first principle of great African dictators is this: You must never stop loving your people and doing what’s best for them even if they continuously ask you to stop loving them and doing what’s best for them.
If I peacefully transferred the power merely because I lost an election it would be a complete betrayal of everything what we – the Africa’s greatest dictators — stand for.
With great respect and everlasting love for my people,
(Image credit: Jeremy T. Lock/Wikimedia Commons)