As the Commission of Inquiry into the illicit wealth of Yaya Jammeh is nearly
six months old and the United States has commenced issuing sanctions against
Yaya Jammeh and some of his close associates. Gambians, including the Commission, must take stock as part of national justice and reconciliation process.
This post was first published December 22, 2016.
One such Gambian is Amadou Samba, a Gambian businessman who has been among the first to declare support to the then 29-year old obscure army lieutenant who successfully mounted a coup d'etat on the 22nd July 1994 that deposed the government of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.
Mr. Samba has been at Jammeh's side throughout the 22-years that Jammeh had ruled The Gambia with an iron fist that has brought pain and suffering to many citizens inside and outside the country. However, what appeared to have been unquestioning loyalty, fueled, in part, by business interests, began to give way to practical realities when Jammeh failed to secure a 5th term as Gambia's president.
What followed after the results were declared by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in favor of Adama Barrow was an avalanche of denunciations of Jammeh's 22-year dictatorship and euphoric celebrations of joy by both supporters of the political alliance including some supporters of the ruling Yaya Jammeh's APRC party.
In an authenticated letter in our possession from Amadou Samba to the outgoing president Jammeh, dated Friday 16th day of December 2016 and entitled "Peace and Stability in The Gambia", the businessman and confidante of Jammeh praised Jammeh for his December 2nd declaration on national television that was beamed across the world in which he conceded defeat to Adama Barrow and promised cooperation that will guarantee a smooth and orderly transfer of power to the President-elect Barrow. He said in the letter " This noble gesture of yours was applauded around the world. It generated many positive references from newspapers and statesmen around the world including President Barack Obama and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
However, "since your statement of December 9th, [reneging on his December 2nd concession] many organizations including the UN Security Council, the USA, the EU, the African Union, The Muslim and Christian Religious Leaders and others have all asked that you respect the choice of the Gambian people made on the December 1st 2016 elections. Given this strong global reaction, it is important to reflect on the fact that the Gambian people have made their choice and the world community is strongly supporting this choice."
Amadou Samba reminded Jammeh that throughout his 35 years business experience, has achieved "many successes and endured many setbacks". He has also been "a supporter of the APRC from its earliest days" who has "freely contributed to many projects undertaken by the APRC Administration my own pocket."
The Gambian businessman implored Jammeh "to cooperate with President-elect Adama Barrow for a smooth transition" and affirm his conviction that "the wisest course of action today is to undertake a process of respecting the commitment Your Excellency made on national television on December 2nd 2016 of cooperating with President-elect Adama Barrow for a smooth transition."
Mr. Samba concluded his letter by further imploring Jammeh "to cooperate with your (his) fellow ECOWAS Presidents and Members to ensure that peace and stability shall forever reign in our motherland."
Our sources in Banjul are reporting that when Jammeh called Amadou Samba, whose precise location as we go to press is unknown, similar sentiments expressed in his letter were verbally communicated to Jammeh who proceeded to slam the phone of Amadou Samba's ears. We are assuming that it as a result of this incident - probably, among many others - that led the Gambian businessman to record his views in the letter that is being liberally quoted here.