Why I relinquished power — Gambia’s Yayah Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh [Photo credit: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (GAMBIA)]

The former President of The Gambia has made a nationwide broadcast to the Gambian people, explaining why he decided to relinquish power and wishing the country well as it turns a new political corner.

Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country with an iron hand for 22 years, gave the explanation on Saturday morning in a speech broadcast on the state-owned Gambian Radio and Television Service (GRTS).

In the speech, Mr. Jammeh said he did his best for his country, and decided to give up power because of his commitment to the security and peace of The Gambia.

He said be believed in the importance of dialogue and was particualrly pleased that the political impasse that gripped the country since December 2016 did not lead to any loss of life.

The former President did not however indicate what he planned to do going forward and whether he would continue to play any role in the politics of the tiny West African nation.

Read below Mr. Jammeh’s full speech as transcribed by PREMIUM TIMES Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed.

======================

Fellow Gambians,

My first preoccupation as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and a patriot is to protect at every instance and in every circumstance the lives of Gambians. And this 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 Subhuana Wa Ta Allah 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 deepen 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 have distinguished us among the community of nations and given us a pride of place in history.

All this while, as a muslim and a 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 promise before Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah and the entire nation that all the issues we currently face would be resolved peacefully.

I am indeed thankful to Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah that up till now, not 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 in the way towards democracy, economic and social development.

It is as a result of this that I have decided to, in good conscience, 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 22 years in the building of a modern Gambia. Above all, 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 worked for.

Our decision today was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interest of you, the Gambian people and our dear country. 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 wars 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 am proud and honoured to have served our country, The Gambia. While thanking all of you, men women and children, members of the armed and security services, humble citizens and all those who have supported me or were against me during this period, I implore them all to put the supreme interest of our nation, The Gambia, above all partisan interests, and endeavour to work together as one nation to continue to preserve the highly cherished achievement of the country, its sovereignty, peace, stability and integrity as well as the economic achievements realised during these years.

I pray that the Gambia continues to be united and prosperous for the welfare of each and everyone of us and be the pride of all.

I subject myself only to the judgment of Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah whose judgment is above and beyond man, time and history. Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah is the only guarantor of peace 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 everyone of the security forces, members of government, present and past, my party militants, and most importantly, you the Gambian people, and National Assembly members, past and present, for the confidence vested in me and your loyal support.

I pray that Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah continues to light and guide our path and to shine his light and blessing on our great and beautiful country.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank my mother, my wife and children for all their prayers and support throughout the past 22 years.

I thank you all, and may Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah continues to bless our motherland.

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  • Haba mallam

    May Allah guide you bless you and protect you, you have been a true African.

    • Fili.Okun

      @victorezebuiroh:disqus

      Premium Times
      remains the very best news journal in Nigeria by far. It is the most
      informative; the most impartial, objective and analytical. I was impressed with
      the the laser-focus of Premium Times on The Gambian debacle as it unfolded.
      Premium Times stayed on the ball with concentration on the flows and ebbs.
      That’s excellent journalism by world’s standards. Were Nigeria ever run with
      the same intelligence quotient by its assorted garbage politicians Nigeria
      would have surpassed Brazil today. But ignorance is Nigeria’s worst disease.

      • CeeCee1818

        Hear hear!

      • princegab

        Corruption is the bane and we are not ignorant of it.

    • CeeCee1818

      Who are you talking about?

    • Otile

      Don’t praise the dictator simply because he is a devout Muslim. Justice still waits him at the Hague. He has escaped to his in-laws in Guinea Conakry shouting Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah. See how he snubbed our own Imam Buhari, which made Imam sick. If Imam Buhari dies in Ingila we will hold your hero Jammeh responsible.

      • Kallah Bature

        Don’t worry Otile, the Almighty God will bring back PMB hale and hearty.Buhari will leave London stronger than ever to continue pursuing people like you and your masters who found succor in looting our common wealth.

  • Victor Ezebuiroh

    We thank God that common sense carried the day

    • L’homme Diplomatique

      YOUR EXCELLENCY,

      Letter to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo:

      Do hasten to book a flight right away to Nouakchott to pay compliments to the wise President of Mauritania
      who single-handedly solved Gambia’s political crisis without firing a single bullet. That is what diplomacy
      means – the use of human intelligence to think properly in resolving disputes and reconciling difficult
      positions in the relations between countries. Nigeria never did anything close to diplomacy because
      President Buhari does not know that in principle, diplomacy and military warfare must not
      intermingle their waters in the same channel. That was why Nigeria messed up.

      That same ignorance caused the stalemate. Thank God for the wise President of Mauritani, who,
      by the way, is not a member of Ecowas, for taking personal initiative to resolve the crisis in Gambia
      by invoking citizen protection clause in favor of the wife of President Yahya Jammeh – who herself is
      a citizen of Guinea (Conakry) thus entitling the President of Guinea a direct say on the invitation
      of the shuttling president of Mauritania, to offer legal asylum on compelling ground.

      It is a disgrace of historic proportion that Nigeria’s President Muhamadu Buhari
      did not think that far. It is worse disgraceful that President Buhari tendered
      no sensible diplomatic solution to President Jammeh in Gambia.

      • CeeCee1818

        Don’t you think the sight of armed soldiers outside his window may have persuaded him to come to his senses? And the fact that his whole cabinet, ECOWAS, AU, UN was against him yet you see fit to credit only one man, come on!

        • L’homme Diplomatique

          @ceecee1818:disqus

          Well, who knows? But it is more likely President Jammeh was ready for guerrilla warfare because
          he defied the Ecowas deadline thrice. That means he was baiting the 7,000 soldiers Ecowas
          deployed with fighter jets and a war ship Nigeria placed at The Gambian coast to come in.
          The entire strength of Gambian Armed Forces is 900 soldiers, which is less than a full
          army battalion. So, the only type of warfare President Jammeh could fight would be
          a Vietnam-type guerrilla warfare. Such a war could be deadly for Ecowas soldiers.

          • CeeCee1818

            That would make a great Nolly wood movie! In real life, not so much.

          • Kallah Bature

            How can he wage a guerilla warfare when his own Chief of Army was not willing to do so?In fact the Head of the Armed Forces was sighted celebrating with supporters of Barrow after he was sworn in Senegal.Please be objective.

      • princegab

        You would have been wiser muted, yours is a baby like comment. The question of Where was diplomacy before now , shoul be directed to knew not pmb.
        What did the trick is the force, grow up bro.

      • Kallah Bature

        The trust of Nigeria’s diplomacy in solving stalemate peacefully by African countries,was dealt a mortal blow by OBJ,when he handed over Charles Taylor to ICC after a gentleman’s agreement against the contrary.

  • ‘alutacontinua’

    PRESIDENT JAMMEH DID NOT MOVE AN INCH; DESPITE THE THOUSANDS OF SOLDIERS

    PRESIDENT MUHAMADU BUHARI DEPLOYED TO FIGHT OR KILL HIM – WHAT A GREAT MAN!

    • CeeCee1818

      What great man? You’re dreaming.

      • Fofona Frey

        @ceecee1818:disqus

        Why BUHARI failed as Ecowas Mediator in Gambia

        Were President Buhari knowledgeable about the world
        world he’d have seen the obvious need to reach out to the president of Guinea
        (Conakry) because President Jammeh’s wife is Guinean. But Buhari was more
        interested in a bogus title of mediator that Ecowas accorded him than in thinking
        out anything sensible. That gap of ignorance Buhari created is what the
        president of Mauritania filled and succeeded.

        • Fofona Frey

          …….(2) Why Buhari failed as Ecowas Mediator in Gambia

          Nigerians still don’t get it.
          Nigeria became irrelevant in diplomatic circles after General Obasanjo messed
          up the meaning of ‘diplomacy’ with illiteracy by granting asylum in Nigeria to a
          SITTING PRESIDENT of Liberia (Charles Taylor) only to later arrest that same
          President of Liberia in Nigeria; chained him, and flew him to exactly the same
          territory (Liberia) mutually declared prior as a threat to Charles Taylor’s life for
          which asylum was granted in Nigeria in the first place. All rules and logic of
          diplomacy were thereby trampled upon by General Obasanjo’s ignorance.

          The result today
          is that Mauritania, which is not even a member of Ecowas, is the one
          getting a diplomatic deal done in Gambia for President Jammeh’s asylum, after
          Nigeria’s President Muhamadu Buhari had disgracefully failed to get anything
          diplomatically done. That’s how irrelevant Nigeria has become after General
          Olusegun Obasanjo’s ‘illiterate diplomacy’. The current president of
          Nigeria, Buhari is himself rather too dim and was roundly ignored by the
          government of Gambia with any suggestion he brought with him to Banjul.

          • Kallah Bature

            Yes.Trusting Nigeria again will definitely be a Herculean task after that treachery meted on Charles Taylor.

        • CeeCee1818

          You still haven’t explained why Jammeh is a great man after killing his people and refusing to step down after losing an election. As for Buhari I thought he was part of a negotiating team along with Manama and Sirleaf.

          • Fofona Frey

            @ceecee1818:disqus

            President Jammeh did what a responsible head of state should do.
            He upheld democratic tenet by submitting an election petition at the Supreme Court.
            Jammeh then insisted that the judiciary must be respected whatever its final decision.
            Thereafter, Jammeh assured internal peace inside Gambia where no single person died.
            A responsible head of state can do no better than uphold peace and democratic tenets.

          • Shorty & Sharpy

            MUHAMADU BUHARI IS A LET-DOWN BEFORE GOD AND MAN; A DISGRACE

            TO THE BLACK RACE; A CANCEROUS EXCRESCENCE ON THE BODY POLITY;

            A GENOCIDAL ASSAULT ON DEMOCRATIC CIVILIZATION AND PRINCIPLES. .

          • NwaIgbo

            You are the sum totality of human depraved waste.

          • power daniel

            go and sleep..bunkum in words

  • Francis Uwaechi

    This loud mouth should prepare for his political afterlife. There are no cast-iron guarantees that prosecutors will not call for his extradition wherever he chooses to flee.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    After the departure of former president Dauda Jawara, of Gambia,Yahya Jameeh, spent twenty two years uninterrupted ruling Gambia, and all the ill-gotten wealth Yahya Jammeh, accumulated over 22-years in power must be returned back to Gambian people to develop Gambian public infrastructure.

  • Julius

    smdh, this moron could have easily did the same thing before now. He left because of the forces he is facing and the abandonment of his security forces. Simple.

    • CeeCee1818

      That’s it, he could have been a respected statesman! He blew it big time!

      • Julius

        Indeed, like most of our African so called leaders. They do the right thing at the wrong time and when all else fails.

        • Otile

          Nevertheless, it is better late than never. See, I told you that the dictator is a devout Muslim, see every now and then he punctuates his sentences with the invocation of Allah Subhuana Wa Ta Allah. Can you beat him in that?

          • Julius

            I noticed that as well but, I don’t get into people’s religion because I’m trying to do the right thing with my God and nobody else. To be honest with you , most of these people that praise the Lord, mention God’s name in every other sentences are suspects to me. I’ll leave it at that.

  • princegab

    Jammeh is both the accused and the judge. Clever by half, he has exonerated self. What an admixture of patriotism and impunity.

  • wonderboi

    There you go chicken- head clucking, breaking news the black face have been banished

  • Wale

    Finally Jammeh made a good choice not to die clinging to power

    • CeeCee1818

      More like he had no choice at the end.

  • wazobia monk !!!!!!

    HE-GOAT ……

  • Curseless

    No one needed an explanation from this buffoon. He left power because he saw the hand writing on the wall and being a selfish man he doesn’t want to loose his life and his loot. If he had stuck to his original embrace of the election results then we would have seen him as a statesman but he has lost that chance now. He will be remembered as a coward who ran away in the face of a 7,000 strong ECOWAS troop against his ragtag army. Other despot in Africa should take notice.

    • CeeCee1818

      Good post!

  • TTT news centre

    Breaking News:

    President Jammeh flies out of Gambia……..

    Former

    Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Saturday evening finally boarded a flight and
    left The Gambia with Guniean President Alpha Conde. They are believed to be
    heading for the Guinean capital, Conakry. Jammeh in his usual white apparel was
    seen waving at a group of people who had gathered at the airport as he entered
    the plane. Some reports also indicate that Jammeh will proceed from Conakry to
    Equatorial Guinea.