Former president and dictator Yahya Jammeh has fled, after African nations forced him to accept that he lost the elections. Jammeh ruled the (Islamic) Republic of the Gambia since 1994 and attempted to turn the nation into a Islamic republic. But he was never able to bring the Gambia into the line of political Islam. Because Jammeh lost the presidential elections, a big surprise since the dictator was able to win every election since his coup in 1994. After losing he refused to give up power, but African leaders rejected his claim. Soldiers from Senegal crossed the border on 21 January 2017 to force Jammeh out of power. He did and fled in his presidential aircraft. Like Ben Ali of Tunisia, Yahya Jammeh raided the nation bank and stole over 11 million dollars!
Revolutionary socialists are happy that this brutal autocrat is gone. But the corrupt political system that Yahya Jammeh installed and used to keep in power, must be dismantled. Otherwise the downfall of the dictator means nothing. Jammeh was just the face of a corrupt government, a bureaucracy that enriched themselves at the expense of working class people in the Gambia. The supporters of the former dictator are united in the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC). This right-wing party was founded by army officials around Jammeh in 1996, just two years after his military coup!
As in most African countries, all government bureaucrats must be members of the ruling party. Meaning that all members of the state bureaucracy are APRC supporters. Therefore the new president must take action to disband this party and start an official investigation into the abuse of power by APRC leaders. Former president Jammeh ruled with an iron fist. Like many autocrats he wanted absolute power over the nation. Critics were not save as many people have been assaulted, tortured and intimidated by APRC officials. Adama Barrow (new president) has a lot of work to do and it remains to be seen if he is able to brake the power-structure of Jammeh. As a real estate agent it is unlikely that he will put working class interests ahead of corporate capitalists!
There is a party in the Gambia that calls itself the: People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism. Although the word: Socialism, is part of their name, the party does not mention its commitment to a socialist Gambia. It also participated in coalitions with capitalist parties. Therefore it is save to say that the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism, is a moderate leftist party that lacks a genuine socialist program for the working class. Other parties such as the Gambia Moral Congress, the Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress, the National Convention Party, the National Democratic Action Movement and the United Democratic Party are ideological empty. This is common in Africa, were political parties are often just vehicles for politicians!
Yahya Jammeh is deeply anti-LGBT and hates homosexuality. As a supporter of political Islam, the president decided to impose the Sharia. In December 2015, the official name of the nation was changed to Islamic Republic of the Gambia. Jammeh said in 2008 that his government would impose harsh punishments on homosexuals. Any gay or lesbian person was to be killed for loving the same sex, according to the dictator. He claimed that atheists and people who do not believe in a god, were equal to pigs and should not be seen as humans. Yahya Jammeh also came in the news when he claimed that he could cure AIDS and HIV. Nobody in the medical world believed him, since the Gambian leader gave no scientific date on how to cure the disease!
On his last day as dictator, Jammeh stole 11 million dollars from the national bank. Then he took the presidential aircraft and fled to Equatorial Guinea, were he can live the rest of his life in luxury as guest of Teodoro Obiango. It is no surprise that Jammeh choose Equatorial Guinea for his exile. This tiny nation is also a autocracy and ruled by the so called ”Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea”. President Teodoro Obiang is a typical capitalist dictator, who is said to own 600 million dollars in personal wealth. Now the former dictator of the Gambia has fled to this nation, with 11 million dollars in stolen money. Money that belongs to the people of the Gambia!
Can Adama Barrow do something about this? Will he fight the political elite who kept Yahya Jammeh in power for 23 years? Or will he use them to build his own autocracy like many presidents have done in Africa? Revolutionary socialists call for a full investigation into the fled dictator. Then the people will know what Yahya Jammeh has done and how he enriched himself at the expense of others. Blame must also be laid on the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, which is a vehicle for corruption, nepotism and autocratic rule since 1996!
Fact remains that the former president of the Gambia stole 11 million dollars. This proofs that Jammeh was a greedy son of a bitch. A religious idiot who saw himself as ”eternal leader, chosen by Allah to rule the Gambia forever”. At least we can say that his regime is now over. But with the corrupt APRC still controlling all layers of politics, the new government must act quickly. Like said before, the APRC must be disbanded and its leaders arrested for corruption and abuse of power. If this is not done then the new president will face a state bureaucracy loyal to the former dictator!
The Gambia is a small nation, build around the Gambian river. There are over 1,8 million people spread over less then 10,689 km2. The average income is very very low. The nominal GDP is less then 435 dollars. Yahya Jammeh spend 23 years stealing the nation’s wealth to become richer. While 1,8 million had to suffer under his brutal police force and corrupt bureaucrats, president Jammeh lived the life of a king. With no tradition of free elections or democratic structures, the right-wing APRC could dominate all elections since 1994. Political propaganda on television was always from the APRC, newspapers only printed APRC approved lines. This made it possible for Jammeh to win always. But in December 2016, he lost the presidential election. This was a huge shock to the dictator who refused to step down and demanded new elections. His demands were rejected by the Economic Community of West African States!
Yahya Jammeh tried to stay in power. But his generals told him that the small army of the Gambia would not fight for him. When soldiers of Senegal crossed the border on 21 January 2017, the dictator knew his time was up. After a last visit to the national bank, Yahya Jammeh fled forever. Adama Barrow is still residing in Senegal, while 4.000 soldiers from the Economic Community of West African States remain in the Gambia to ease the transaction. But there is a huge problem, the Gambian government is now in short of money, since Yahya Jammeh took all the reserves with him. As a very poor nation, 11 million dollars were all that was left. Now the country has nothing, which is a problem for the new president. Revolutionary socialists therefore call for Gambian workers to unite in a party that stands for democratic socialism, against tribalism, islamism and capitalism!