USA and the Gambia: Stark contrast of Democracy at best and Dictatorship at worst

Posted: January 22, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Martin Ariel Majak, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Martin Ariel Majak, Alexandria University, Egypt

Obama’s Statement on US Recognition of the Republic of South Sudan, July 9, 2011.

January 21, 2017 (SSB) —- Well, yesterday was a day of joy and happiness in the USA. It was the day Donald Trump took oath of office to cap his improbable election victory of all times. It was the day too when Obama exited the doors of the White House for the incoming Trump administration.

Many Americans were in upbeat mood as they witnessed the colorful occasion of the swearing in ceremony. It has to be noted too that not all Americans were jovial. There were a handful of displeased Americans who were protesting in different parts of the US.

They fear that if Trump’s fiery rhetoric at the campaign trail defines his Presidency, he’s likely to plunge the country into chaos. So they had to carry out demonstrations, their birthright enshrined in the constitution, as long as it’s nonviolent.

Perhaps many people were thinking that such demonstrations portrayed a polarized USA, the bastion of democracy, in a bad light.

But you may be excused if you weren’t following the drama unfolding elsewhere, on the other side of the ocean.

Whereas there was a peaceful transfer of power in US, the opposite was happening in the small West African nation of Gambia.

The incumbent president known for his notoriety and dictatorial tendencies, H.E Sheikh Professor Alhaji Doctor Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa, was not willing to cede power after first conceding defeat to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow. He just wanted to cling onto power against the people’s will.

President elect Adama Barrow had to flee to the neighboring Senegal where he was sworn into office in the Gambian embassy in Dakar. He was now the internationally recognised President but based in a foreign land.

The regional leaders of ECOWAS sought to settle the political stalemate by first sending President Buhari of Nigeria to Bangui to meet with Yahya Jammeh so as to persuade him but to no avail. Many other Presidents tried and failed to convince him.

Then now came the hour of action.

ECOWAS issued an ultimatum for Jammeh to step down or face the risk of being ousted militarily. Senegalese troops massed at the borders of Gambia awaiting commands at any time to cross in and overthrow the illegitimate government.

He finally gave in and promised to relinquish power on an understanding that he shouldn’t be prosecuted for the Human Rights abuses he committed while in power and that he should be given safe sanctuary out of the country.

That was pathetic of him to first be warned of being overthrown by force. He was the true personification of Dictatorship at worst.

The writer is a student at Alexandria University, Egypt and can be reached via his email: Ariel Majak <>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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