Sunday, January 15, 2017

How Yaya Jammeh conned Liberia's President Johnson Sirleaf on national television

Johnson Sirleaf, Koroma and Jammeh 
Yaya Jammeh, the Gambian dictator who lost his bid for a 5th 5-year term in the last December presidential elections, had one more stunt to pull last night at the expense of Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and before a national television audience.

Jammeh placed a telephone called to the unsuspecting Liberian President to ask for her assistance in securing the services of Supreme Court judges to consider his petition for the annulment of the results of the elections he clearly lost last December.

Following the loss, he accepted defeat and conceded to his 51-year old rival Adama Barrow, only to reverse his position and refused to vacate the presidency unless the Supreme Court will deliberate on his application to nullify the results and call for fresh elections.

He decided to adopt this strategy with the hope that he will be able to entice enough judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone to sit in judgement of his case.  When the strategy failed because the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria refused to release his judges for the assignment in The Gambia, Jammeh found himself in a logjam because the earliest Nigeria can release its judges for the Supreme Court assignment in The Gambia would be in May and November, well beyond the 18th January deadline as stipulated clearly and unambiguously in the country's constitution.

Jammeh will be violating the constitution if he stays a minute later than midnight of the deadline. President-elect, Adama Barrow, is scheduled to be inaugurated the 3rd President of The Republic of The Gambia on the 19th January.  Since he cannot get enough judges to sit, Jammeh had to devise an unconstitutional route of filing an injunction with the same Supreme Court that has only one sitting judge to boast of - the notoriously corrupt Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle, who is not only the one doing the bidding for Jammeh but he is also in the business of running a church and a daycare school for profit.  To his credit, it is reported that the Chief Justice has indicated that he cannot pronounce on the application because he is an interested party, thus dealing a severe blow to his friend's latest ploy.

Finding himself further in a logjam, Jammeh decided to con Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by calling her and having the entire episode recorded on video and played before a national audience by asking her to intervene using her office as President of ECOWAS to impress upon the Nigerian president to provide the judges to sit on his injunction application that would prevent Adama Barrow from being inaugurated until the case is heard and disposed of.  The Liberian president responded that Jammeh should write his request clearly stating what he wants from her and ECOWAS which he immediately promised to do and in doing so referred to her as "my sister."

There is little doubt that Jammeh was not only belittling one of Africa's first woman president but he was trying concurrently to dupe the entire ECOWAS community and the Gambian voters who voted for change by voting Adama Barrow.  Jammeh's behavior did not surprise those who know this character but the extent to which he can go to delay the inevitable i.e. removal from office, by force, if necessary, is extraordinary.  And doing so at the expense of one of Africa's most respected political leader is shameful.  President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf deserves better and Jammeh should be ashamed of himself - if he has any shame, that is.