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Shameful former president Jame approaches Gambia elections

File photo: On January 21, 2017, a security guard of former President Yahya Jammeh, who arrived at the airport before his asylum from The Gambia, cries.Reuters / Thier League Enyon

December 1, 2021

Pap Thane and Edward McAllister

Banjul (Reuters) – At a pre-election rally last month, supporters of a major opposition coalition in The Gambia cheered on the opening of the star attraction.

“(President) Adama Barrow destroyed all the good things the Gambians left to benefit: hospitals, agriculture and education,” Jame said with enthusiastic applause. “We should all unite and vote for him.”

Gambians go to polls on Saturday, and Jame, who took power in the 1994 coup for the first time in 27 years, will not vote.

After refusing to accept his defeat to Barrow, he fled to Equatorial Guinea in 2017, ending his tenure characterized by murder, torture, monetary looting, and false claims of AIDS homemade remedies. ..

Last week, the Gambian Truth Commission, Reconciliation and Compensation Commission (TRRC) said 240 to 250 people had died in the hands of the state under Jame and recommended prosecuting the responsible person.

Still, the influence of jam remains. In a series of telephone speeches, he urged a large enthusiastic audience not to vote for Barrow, finishing third in 2016, with opposition candidate Mama Kandeh, whom Jame described as his “slave.” I persuaded my supporters to join the coalition that I run. ..

The move split Jame’s APRC party, with some members forming an alliance with Barrow’s NPP.

It also pressured Barrow to convince voters that he had pulled the country out of a difficult past. It’s not an easy task after COVID-19 crippled tourism under Barrow and shrunk a small economy in 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, thousands of Europeans flocked to the white sands each year. It is also an exporter of peanuts and fish. However, unemployment in 2.5 million countries has forced young people to attempt dangerous migration routes to Europe through boats or the Sahara Desert.

Jame did not respond to the request for comment. He denied cheating. In a recent speech, he promised to go home. This is an unthinkable prospect for some Gambians.

“For those who have been tortured, raped, or killed by their loved ones under Yahya Jammeh, it’s hard to see him playing Kingmaker instead of answering allegations of atrocities in court. It’s painful, “said Reed Brody of the Nonprofit International Commission. Of Jurist who worked with the victims of Jame.

Road, power

The collapse of Jame was seen as a major victory for democracy in the region, but expectations for the domino influence have been largely shattered by coups in Mali, Chad and Guinea over the past year. This election is considered a test of the strength of democracy in The Gambia.

Barrow faces five challengers, including former mentors Usaine Dalboye and Essam by Farr, who were the chief advisors to TRRC, who recorded the abuses of the Jame era.

Critics say Barrow’s dominance is characterized by crime and uneven internet and power networks.

Some people distrust the president. Barrow initially said he would serve as interim leader for only three years after Jame left.

He made extravagant promises on the road of the campaign, including building hundreds of miles of roads by 2023 and supplying uninterrupted electricity nationwide.

For all difficulties, many see Barrow’s rules as a welcome break from the past.

“We are free to express ourselves,” said Ousman Jobarteh, a 47-year-old businessman. “We sleep without thinking that we might be greeted by a state agent.”

(Written by Edward McAllister, edited by Angus MacSwan)



Shameful former president Jame approaches Gambia elections

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