After 22 years as a dictator, Yahya Jammeh was ready to relinquish power but not without a deal to protect him and his political allies from political harassment by the incoming administration.
Immediately, it was announced that he had lost elections to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow, Jammeh called Barrow in a televised session to concede. He stressed that Barrow needed to work with him for a peaceful transition of power but Barrow did not seem to get Jammeh’s political tone. He suddenly began holding public talks and stressing that he would probe and prosecute Jammeh when sworn in.
This was a grave mistake by Barrow and Jammeh was not going to allow anyone pose a threat to his freedom after power. He announced that he had rejected the election results due to suspicions of abnormalities. The world went berserk calling for Jammeh’s head yet Jammeh was unmoved. He knew exactly what he wanted.
After weeks of unwillingness to relinquish power, ECOWAS stepped in to negotiate but to no avail. Jammeh waited until a deal was reached before accepting to step down. Below are some of the points reached in the deal:
1. ECOWAS declared that they would halt any military operations in The Gambia for the sub-regional body to continue the pursuit of the peaceful and political resolution of the crisis.
2. ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN, in the deal, made a commitment to work with the new Gambian government to pave the way for Jammeh’s return to the country at any time he chooses in line with international human rights legislations and his right as a Gambian citizen and former president.
3. The three bodies also promised to ensure that countries that elect to host Jammeh and his family during the temporary exile period are not made to endure harassment, intimidation, sanctions and sundry pressures.
4. The new Gambian government was urged to provide assurance that supporters and members of Jammeh’s government are not subjects of intimidation or harassment.
5. According to the details of the deal, the international bodies also made a commitment to work with the new government to prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully acquired by Jammeh, his family, cabinet members, government officials and supporters of his political party
6. The ousted dictator was equally assured by ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN that the government of his successor would enact legislations inimical to the treatment of himself, his family and supporters with dignity.
Take note of numbers 4,5 and 6. Jammeh ensured that the deal secured not only his freedom and that of his family but also that of his political allies.
In one deal, Jammeh avoided what happened to Charles Taylor, Ghadaffi, Mubarak and What is happening right now to Goodluck Jonathan.
This is what Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan could not do for even his family members.
After peacefully conceding and relinquishing power to Buhari, Goodluck Jonathan, his family, relatives and political allies have been constantly persecuted by the Buhari led administration till date. Some for seemingly justifiable claims and others for false and baseless accusations. The list of those persecuted are endless including Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s immediate past first lady and wife of Goodluck Jonathan.
So while you lambast Yahya Jammeh and while I agree with you that he is not an example of a good leader nor can he fit into the shoes of Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership strides, always remember that he is a better leader to his relatives and political allies than our own Goodluck Jonathan is to his relatives and allies.
Comrade Phils writes from port Harcourt, Nigeria.