Saturday, September 17, 2016

Stand-off at State House between Jammeh and General Saul Badjie, elections in the balance

General Saul Badjie
Dictator Yaya Jammeh 

A source is informing us that there's a stand-off at State House between the Gambian dictator Jammeh and General Saul Badjie over Jammeh's decision to purge the Republican Guard of Badjie's loyalists.

According to the same source, when Badjie resisted the purge, Jammeh stormed out of State House in anger, heading for his home village of Kanilai and reportedly still furious as we post this blog.

Tension between the two men continues to mount since the General refused to deploy the Republican Guard at the height of last April's UDP-led protest demonstrations against the draconian electoral laws that led to the death of a UDP youth leader.  Jammeh has been nursing a grudge over what he sees as insubordination by General Badjie  

The refusal by General Badjie to carry out Jammeh's instructions to deploy the Republican Guards during the April demonstrations to quel the protests led him to rely on the Police Intervention Unit (PIU), the paramilitary outfit, that eventually suppressed the protests using excessive force.

To show appreciation of the unit's loyalty, Jammeh rewarded the PIU by merging it with the military despite it's non-military character but still under the command of the Inspector General of Police.  It must be noted that the legislative process that formalizes the change has yet to take place - an unlikely proposition under the current tense security atmosphere.

The heightened tension between Jammeh and the head of the Republican Guard threatens the December presidential and the April legislative elections.  The tense security situation, coupled with a regime that lacks the financial resources conduct a credible elections, only adds to the uncertainty as to whether Gambians will go to the polls as planned.

Even under normal circumstances, the prevailing fiscal environment is such that supplementary external financing of the elections would be required.  In the absence of international donor participation and financial support, the elections may end up being postponed for lack of financial resources.  The tense security atmosphere that engulfs the country \can only add to the precarious and uncertain nature of electoral calendar.

A developing story .....