Sunday, January 4, 2015

Yaya Jammeh must resign to avoid potential bloodshed

General Saul Badgie (Karapha Bojang)
Yaya Jammeh is an accidental president who was never expected to last this long. He has beaten all the odds to this point.  Any attempt to push the envelop any further risks civil strife that may take on an ethic character.  To avoid potential bloodshed, Jammeh must resign.

He was never the leader of the coup d'etat of 1994 but ended up being selected Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) by virtue of the fact he was the oldest, at 29, among other putschists.

 As putschists everywhere, the rest of the AFPRC members were equally unqualified.  All but one (Sanna Bairo Sabally) of the 5-member ruling council ever managed a household budget since the rest were unmarried and without raising a family of their own.

Despite their obvious lack of preparedness to govern a nation, many Gambians were willing to support them because they had grown tired of the Jawara regime that had ruled the country for over 30 years.

Many Gambians supported the coup but not necessarily the personal leadership of Jammeh and his Council members as demonstrated in the closeness of the 1996 presidential elections results. Although Gambians voted in larger numbers than expected for the opposition parties, it was not enough to offset the vote rigging and tampering of Jammeh and his APRC.

Over the years, Jammeh has tried and succeeded in manipulating the electoral laws and procedures in his favor which led to successive presidential election victories.  Because of these electoral successes, fueled by huge sums of money mixed with brute force, political intimidation and ballot manipulation, Gambians appeared to have surrendered to the reality that Jammeh cannot be beaten through the ballot which led them to resign to the adage that if you cannot beat them, join them.

The resignation of the Gambian people was misinterpreted as a blanket and unconditional support by Jammeh which he enforced by the use of force and intimidation.   It is this very military and security infrastructure that Jammeh constructed and that kept him in power longer than expected that is about to bring his regime down.

The events of 30 December exposed the weaknesses of Jammeh's military and security apparatus because it was designed to repel a military challenge from within and not a challenge to his authority from external civilian force.  Jammeh never structured his security apparatus with external civilian force in mind which explains the total confusion that persists a week after the events at State House.

Jammeh's entire security apparatus is in disarray.  He is so concerned about his persona safety that he has avoided public appearances since the 30 December.  Chances are he will not attend Monday's 'solidarity rally' organized by his ruling party to be attended by civilian party militants and civil servants.

Reports have it that some key military and security personnel are in virtual house arrest in Jammeh's home village of Kanilai.  The personal security of Jammeh is now the responsibility of some elements of the MFDC - the Casamance rebel group - a shift that has serious implications which boils down to trust which cannot be rebuilt in the short term.   It is because of his lack of confidence in his own security apparatus that his Moroccan wife and two children are presently in Morocco.

The genie is already out of the bottle.  Jammeh's forces or what's left of them cannot stand another external or internal attack without the threat of a spill over effect that may result in violence that may engulf the country - violence that might take on an ethnic character.

To avoid this, Jammeh is being advised to resign the presidency with the terms and conditions subject to further negotiations between Jammeh and local and external opposition elements under the aegis of ECOWAS, United Nations or a mutually-agreed upon broker of the peace.