Yahya Jammeh is an unpredictable character, and true to his reputation, the Gambian leader last week dropped a bombshell, which left Gambians and fellow Africans dumbfounded. Just over a week after making a shock concession after a convincing defeat by coalition leader Adama Barrow in the country’s presidential polls, Jammeh ordered fresh elections and declared that he will launch a legal challenge to contest his defeat. Many Africans on social media have condemned Jammeh’s about-turn, and the African Union (AU) and Ecowas amongst others have issued cautionary statements, criticizing Jammeh on the turn-about, urging the Gambian leader to respect the will of voters.
The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has been in office for the past 22 years. Few people would have predicted a Jammeh loss in the presidential election, let alone the longstanding Gambian leader conceding defeat with a smile on his face, and pledging to oversee a smooth transition. Jammeh, widely viewed as autocratic leader congratulated the winner, property developer Adama Barrow, for a “clear victory”. President Jammeh’s concession is monumental against the backdrop of alleged human rights abuses, and many expected him to win by hook and crook, that failing to cling on to power. Jammeh’s concession and pledge to facilitate a smooth power transfer raises important questions. Is the Gambian leader an angel, whose actions could bode well for democracy, and inspire other African leaders to respect the wishes of the electorate? Or he will remain a villain in the eyes of many because of a record of human rights abuses during his 22 years in power?
Gambians today are at the polls to choose their leader for the next five years. The country uses the first past-the post system, and the voting process is quite unique, instead of ballot papers, voters use marbles, and there are no ballot boxes either but ballot drums.
The Gambian parliament has passed the Children’s Amendment Bill bill banning child marriage, as part of the government’s commitment to fight and prevent the practice. The bill orders that offenders will face 20 years in prison. The provision comes after President Yahya Jammeh’s recent declaration of a ban on child marriage. The landmark decision has been hailed by many rights groups and citizens.
Today the west African nation of The Gambia observes it’s 50th year of freedom from British colonial rule. Freedom of the sovereign state should equate to the liberty of its citizens. But whether the people of The Gambia should be celebrating this ‘freedom’ or not, lacks a definite answer
Gambia has passed a bill that allows some homosexual acts to be punished with life imprisonment, potentially worsening the climate for sexual minorities in a country led by one of Africa’s most vocal anti-gay leaders
The unstigmatised albinos in Gambia, are gearing up to hold a national awareness day they will seize to send a strong message particularly to East Africa to emulate the high degree of tolerance they enjoy in the tiny West African state.