By Papa Kumba Loum
The Botched 30th December 2014 Coup and the likely Consequences for Jammeh
As confusion, bewilderment and even disappointment still grip Gambians following the failed 30th December 2014 Coup, all the political parties have now issued statements condemning the coup as it became apparent that it was a disastrous failure and all expressed their disapproval of the use of “unconstitutional means” to remove the government despite the fact that we all know that like the majority of Gambians, the political parties were biting their lips hoping that the coup would be successful and the butcher of Kanilai finally toppled.
Jammeh who is known for crying wolf on several occasions regarding imaginary plots to remove him from power appeared on TV shortly after his arrival from Dubai via Chad visibly shaken, ranting and raving like a mad dog and most probably under the influence of some intoxicants and threatened the coupist and their supporters with extermination. Jammeh initially blamPapae West notably the USA, UK and Germany for lending their support to the coup but later retracted his accusation against the UK especially.
True to Dictator Jammeh’s threats, the Greater Banjul area was on near locked down for almost a week as the “remaining coupist” were haunted down by men in military uniforms and many military personnel and civilians suspected of having any connections with and or affiliation to the coupist were arrested, detained, interrogated and tortured. Unconfirmed reports indicated that some people were even summarily executed.
The amateurish way in which the attempted coup was executed has shocked many. The facts contained in the criminal complaint filed at the USA District Court of Minnesota against Papa Faal and Cherno Njie (AO 91 (Rev.1 II I J) speaks volumes. People are still wondering why the State House and not the Radio & TV station (GRTS) and Banjul International Airport were not the focus of the target. After all, Jammeh was out of the country and securing the airport would have made more sense in preventing Jammeh from returning.
Moreover, seizing GRTS and broadcasting the demise of Jammeh would have given the coupist the much needed publicity and support of the masses who have been trampled upon, abused, brutalized and murdered by Jammeh and his Hench men over the last 20 years with impunity. Most Gambians were eagerly waiting for the announcement that Jammeh was finally toppled for the celebrations to start.
Jammeh calculatingly gave orders for the ghastly pictures of the executed tied naked bodies of the slain coupist to be released on all the online Gambian papers presumably to shock and scare Gambians from trying to remove him from power. This execution exhibitionist style of propaganda was the modus operandi of Samuel Doe the former President of Liberia but then again we all know how Samuel Doe himself eventually ended. Violence begets violence and those who use the sword will perish by the sword.
In a calculated move, Jammeh also made changes to his cabinet by appointing the “Spin Mistress” Neneh Macdol- Gaye to the position of Foreign Minister – a position Neneh had long craved for and even led to her falling apart with Jammeh when he had earlier promised and then refused to offer her the position of Foreign Minister. Neneh’s appointment as Foreign Minister is currently the subject of immense discussions among the diasporian community in the USA as some insiders are saying that she was privy to the plan to topple Jammeh but then went behind their backs to reveal their plan to Jammeh and his “loyal forces”. The full involvement of Neneh Macdol –Gaye in the whole fiasco will be revealed at a later date.
The controversial Sheriff Bojang – a man daubed by many as a “wanna be” and an “unprincipled journalist for hire” was given the post of Information Minister and the not so noble and conniving Mama Fatima Singhateh recycled to the post of Minister of Justice.
Jammeh’s game plan is to continue ruling the Gambia using brute force, extermination and forced disappearance of his opponent and perceived enemies with minimal recourse to the court system which he now believes gives him bad publicity as the international community is well aware of the dysfunctional Gambian Judiciary currently manned by mercenary judges who decide cases at Jammeh’s directives. With her spin Mistress Neneh Macdol-Gaye, Jammeh has already lined up emissaries who have started working on the ground to bribe, cajole, blackmail and coarse political opponents and adversaries of Jammeh both within and outside the Gambia to njoin him- a move calculated to demoralize further his critics.
Do not be surprised if in the coming months you see a complete turnaround of some of Jammeh’s staunch opponents. Jammeh will also continue to kill Gambians especially those he suspects would want to overthrow him or those around him who know a lot about his past secretes and machinations lest they spill the beans when they fall out of favour with him and likely to be used as potential witnesses in future criminal prosecution against him. The extra Judicial killings of Gambians by the Jammeh’s hit squad will continue and they will be employing different and discrete methods such as poisoning, fake accidents and suicides etc. This will however eventually backfire and lead to Jammeh’s rapid demise. With each killing and disappearance, his circles of enemies are widening and those close to him also know that they are fair game for Jammeh.
Presently Jammeh does not trust anyone including his own shadow. He will continue to eliminate his perceived enemies and continue to clutch on to power despite a failing economy and knowledge that that he is detested by the majority of Gambians. Jammeh as reported by his inner circle is greatly disturbed by the way Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was killed by his captures.
He is not quite sure who will trigger the assassin bullet and his growing suspicion will further shove him to the underworld for answers. Like a wounded animal, Jammeh is most dangerous to both himself and the Gambia and Gambians should brace themselves for the worst in the next coming months. Meanwhile, the ineffectual political parties will now be talking about
Constitutionality and drumming support for the 2016 Presidential and House of Representative Elections. There is no doubt that Jammeh will win the 2016 elections using intimidation, bribery and fraud. Voter apathy will also favour him as many Gambians will think it futile to vote. Moreover, the opposition parties will not have the wherewithal to organize and mount an effective spirited campaign to ruffle Jammeh nor will Jammeh allow them to be effective. Some will eventually boycott the process out of frustration complaining of uneven level playing field, others will be bought and bribed to go through the motions of elections to give Jammeh legitimacy.
The long and short of it is that without divine intervention such as sickness and or tragedy, Jammeh will win the 2016 elections.
After winning the 2016 elections and without being able to fulfil all the promises he has made to Gambians over the years, to wit: making Gambia a Singapore, a country self-sufficient in rice and agricultural products, an oil exporting nation, a developed and prosperous country etc, etc, real hardship and oppression will knock at the doors of Gambians as Jammek looks for more scapegoats and imaginary enemies.
The truth is that Jammeh has no development agenda for Gambians. It is all about him and how much money he can siphon from our meagre coffers for himself and Lady Zeinab and how he can continue to perpetuate himself in power.
Jammeh hates Gambians and cannot stand progressive Gambians. A prosperous Gambian middle class is an anathema to Jammeh. He is bent on destroying anyone who shows signs of independence and or success. It is his inherent jealous, contemptuous and resentful nature in general that is traumatizing him.
Jammeh must defile, corrupt and pollute all that is civilized and sophisticated as it confirms and reminds him of his inadequacies and inferiority complexes. Meanwhile as Gambians become more and more desperate and reduce to slavery and servitude and as Jammeh’s sources of income become even more contracted and the educated class continue to prostitute them, the ordinary people will eventually rise up.
The “MTV generation kids” who were born and or brought up during Jammeh’s 20 year reign and who are now jobless, devoid of hope and optimism of having a successful & productive life and unable to access the back way to Europe, will be the ticking time bomb ready to be ignited. This is the powder keg that is waiting to explode. The sad story is that when the inevitable finally happens, it will take Gambia years to stabilize and thanks to Yahya Jammeh and a generation of unprincipled, selfish, dishonest and egocentric educated and religious class who not only failed to confront the excesses of Jammeh but actively aided and abetted him in the destruction of a nation.
Contrary to what most of us want to believe for example, the assassin team of Jammeh comprises of 85 percent Gambians and not Casamance rebels. The Gambians together with Jammeh therefore wrote the script of their own destruction and acted out the scenes. Let us not therefore expect foreign powers and outsiders to come to our aid. This is a Gambian problem which needs Gambian solutions.