Ex-President Yaya Jammeh , who had been holding the nation of Gambia and the world hostage by first conceding , then changing and refusing to concede defeat after losing the Presidential elections of December 1, 2016, at last stepped down yesterday and the sub-continent breathed a sigh of relief as Jammeh left the Gambia today for exile , accompanied by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde.
According to reports from the Gambia, Jammeh traveled to Conakry today, but his real destination is Equatorial Guinea , where he is expected to live in exile.
The latest dramatic saga was the result of Friday’s final peace move by Conde and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
The multinational West African force, ECOMIG, which had entered the Gambia from Senegal to oust Jammeh , halted its advance on the instruction of the international stakeholders to give the former President a last chance at stepping down through mediation talks with the Mauritanian and Guinean leaders.
The talks succeeded as Jammeh went on national TV and said he had decided to step down ( SEE STATEMENT UNDER THIS REPORT ).
Shortly after, the new President, Mr. Barrow, tweeted : “As Yahya Jammeh officially stepped down from office — I will be returning to my homeland, the Republic of The Gambia. #NewGambia.” He had been taking refuge in neighbouring Senegal for safety reasons.
JOINT DECLARATION BY THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES, THE AFRICAN UNION AND THE UNITED NATIONS ON THE POLITICAL SITUATION OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
ON JANUARY 21, 2017
1. Following the Decision of the Summit of the ECOWAS Authority taken on 17th December 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria, Mediation efforts, including visits to Banjul, were undertaken by the Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, HE President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Mediator, HE President Muhammadu Buhari and Co-Mediator on The Gambia, HE former President John Dramani Mahama, along with HE President Ernest Bai Koroma to mediate on the political impasse with Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh,
2. Following further mediation efforts by HE President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and HE President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea Conakry with HE Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, the former President of the Republic of The Gambia, and in consultation with the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, the Chairperson of the AU Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, this declaration is made with the purpose of reaching a peaceful resolution to the political situation in The Gambia.
3. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commend the goodwill and statesmanship of His Excellency former President Jammeh, who with the greater interest of the Gambian people in mind, and in order to preserve the peace, stability and security of The Gambia and maintain its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the dignity of the Gambian people, has decided to facilitate an immediate peaceful and orderly transition process and transfer of power to President Adama Barrow in accordance with the Gambian constitution.
4. In furtherance of this, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it assures and ensures the dignity, respect, security and rights of HE former President Jammeh, as a citizen, a party leader and a former Head of State as provided for and guaranteed by the 1997 Gambian Constitution and other Laws of The Gambia.
5. Further, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it fully guarantees, assures and ensures the dignity, security, safety and rights of former President Jammeh’s immediate family, cabinet members, government officials, Security Officials and party supporters and loyalists.
6. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that no legislative measures are taken by it that would be inconsistent with the previous two paragraphs.
ECOWAS, the AU and the UN urge the Government of The Gambia to take all necessary measures to assure and ensure that there is no intimidation, harassment and/or witch-hunting of former regime members and supporters, in conformity with the Constitution and other laws of The Gambia.
8. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully belonging to former President Jammeh or his family and those of his Cabinet members, government officials and Party supporters, as guaranteed under the Constitution and other Laws of The Gambia.
9. In order to avoid any recriminations, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia on national reconciliation to cement social, cultural and national cohesion.
10. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN underscore strongly the important role of the Gambian Defence and Security Forces in the maintenance of peace and stability of The Gambia and commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it takes all appropriate measures to support the maintenance of the integrity of the [Defence and] Security Forces and guard against all measures that can create division and a breakdown of order.
11. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will work to ensure that host countries that offer “African hospitality” to former President Jammeh and his family do not become undue targets of harassment, intimidation and all other pressures and sanctions.
12. In order to assist a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power and the establishment of a new government, HE former President Jammeh will temporarily leave The Gambia on 21 January 2017, without any prejudice to his rights as a citizen, a former President and a Political Party Leader.
13. ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that former President Jammeh is at liberty to return to The Gambia at any time of his choosing in accordance with international human rights law and his rights as a citizen of the Gambia and a former head of state.
14. Pursuant to this declaration, ECOWAS will halt any military operations in The Gambia and will continue to pursue peaceful and political resolution of the crisis.
Done this 21thday of January, 2017 in Banjul, The Gambia
Shortly after the above statement was released, a member of the new government , President Barrow’s Special Adviser , released this post in the social media :
Culled From Hon Mai Fatty from the Republican of Gambia
THERE WAS NO DEAL ON JAMMEH ‘S EXIT
There was NO DEAL signed. What is being circulated was a DRAFT jointly prepared by Guinea Conakry and Mauritania. President Barrow received the said draft this afternoon and he rejected it outright. Both the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel Desouza and the Envoy of Qatar visited today for consultations on this matter. Our position remained the same. The President subsequently requested the resumption of military action immediately to enforce the elections results of 1st December, and to arrest Jammeh, if he refused to depart. I went in the media to assert that Jammeh won’t be permitted to sleep in The Gambia tonight. Within an hour, Jammeh agreed to depart. Few minutes after the departure, the President authorized the temporary closure of our air space to prevent the landing of a purported commecial cargo craft intended to airlift vehicles and other luxury belongings of Jammeh. There was NO deal. In the New Gambia, it is better to verify before going with unsubstantiated information to the public domain. We intend to run an open government. Please just simply verify first from credible sources.
THE FREEDOM newspaper confirmed that Jammeh had left the country and wrote in part :
Jammeh’s henchmen appeared sad and distressed. The airport is a ghost airport today. Jammeh and his enablers are crying.
This was the day, we have been working for Gambia. Yahya Jammeh is history. He was booed while leaving town. His supporters have all went into hiding. The end of Jammeh has becomes a sad story. All his so called loyalists have abandoned him.
Security agencies, including the NIA are on the ground at the airport to see off Jammeh. They are all crying. Some couldn’t believe that this day would ever arrived. Their boss Yahya Jammeh, is leaving them behind. Now they have to face the Gambian people, and explain the atrocities they perpetrated in the name of consolidating Jammeh into power.
The Gambia is going to be an interesting country in coming days, weeks, and months. There are many untold stories. Jammeh’s mess and carnage would be exposed for all to see.
Meanwhile, President Adama Barrow, told Al Jazeera TV, that he told the people who were involved in the negotiations for Jammeh to step down to ask Jammeh to leave the Gambia in the interest of peace. He said it would be hard for his government to accomplish its mission if Jammeh’s continues to live in The Gambia, as a private citizen. Mr. Barrow said Mr, Jammeh is free to return to the Gambia, later, but for now, he should just pack and leave.
STATEMENT BY FORMER PRESIDENT JAMMEH, ANNOUNCING THAT HE HAD AT LAST DECIDED TO STEP DOWN
Bismillahir Rahman Rahim
Alhamdulilahi Rabbil Al Ameen
Assalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhum
My first pre-occupation as president and commander in-chief of the armed forces and a patriot, and the most sacred at that, is to preserve at every instance and in every circumstance, the lives of Gambians, and that is a duty I hold sacrosanct. I have always strived for peace and security of our nation and Africa.
During this entire time that Allah SWT in His infinite wisdom has permitted me to exercise power, and throughout the time that the sovereign people of the Gambia have put their confidence in me, my primary preoccupation has been to uphold the dignity of our people and the sovereignty of this great nation.
As a result of all the numerous sacrifices that, we and those before us, have made as a nation, The Gambia has affirmed its desire to determine its own future and destiny. This is a cause I have always been ready to defend and even with my life.
All the actions we have taken towards building this nation up to this point distinguished us among the community of nations and given us a pride of place in history.
All this while, as a Muslim and patriot, I believe it is not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed. Since the beginning of this political impasse that our dear nation is going through, I promised before Allah SWT and the entire nation, that all the issues we currently face will be resolved peacefully.
I am indeed thankful to Allah SWT that up until now not even a single casualty has been registered. I believe in the importance of dialogue and in the capacity of Africans to resolve among themselves, all the challenges on the way towards democracy, economic and social development.
It is a result of this that I have decided today, in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation, with infinite gratitude to all Gambians, women, children, youth and men and friends of the Gambia, who have supported me for twenty-two years in the building of a modern Gambia.
I put above all and everything, the independence of the free and proud people of the Gambia and I will always, together with you, defend this independence that we so dearly fought for and won.
My decision today was not dictated by anything else, but by the supreme interest of you, the Gambian people and our dear country, and taking into consideration, my prayer and desire that peace and security continue to reign in the Gambia.
At a time when we are witnessing trouble and chaos in other parts of Africa and the world, the peace and security of the Gambia is our collective heritage, which we must jealously guard and defend.
I proud and honored to have served our country, The Gambia. While thanking all of you men, women and children, members of the Armed Forces and the security, humble citizens and all those who have supported me or were against me during this period. I implore you to put the supreme interest of our nation, The Gambia above all partisan interest; and endeavor working together as one nation to continue to preserve the highly cherished achievements of the country, its sovereignty, peace, stability and integrity as well as the economic achievements realized during these years.
I pray that The Gambia, our homeland, continues to be united and prosperous for the welfare of each of us and be the pride of all.
I submit myself only to the judgment of Allah SWT, whose judgment is above and beyond man, time and history. The almighty Allah SWT is the only guarantor of truth and justice.
Finally, I am truly and sincerely proud to have been of service to you and our noble nation.
I wish to thank each and every one of the security forces, members of government and my party militants and most importantly, you the Gambian people, and the national Assembly members, past and present for the confidence vested in me and your loyal support.
I pray that Allah SWT continue to light and guide our path, and to shower His mercy and blessings on our great and beautiful country.
Finally, I wish to thank my mother, my wife and children for all their prayers and support.
I thank you all and May Allah SWT continue to bless our motherland.
Assalam Alaikum WA Rahmatullah WA Barakatuhuh.
Sheikh Prof. Alh. Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa