Gambia’s New Rulers Vow To Prosecute Outgoing President

Supporters of president-elect Adama Barrow dance on a poster of outgoing president Yahya Jammeh. Photograph: Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters

Yahya Jammeh has ‘bunkers and treasure’ at his farm near Senegal border and could start rebel movement, claims coalition

Ruth Maclean in Banjul

The autocratic ruler of the Gambia will be prosecuted for his crimes within a year of handing over the reins of government in January, the chair of the country’s new ruling coalition has vowed.

Yahya Jammeh, whose defeat in last Thursday’s election marks the first democratic transition of power in the tiny west African nation, is being prevented from leaving the country in case he starts a rebel movement, according to Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, the architect of the coalition and a senior politician considered the mother of the nation.

In an extraordinary speech on Friday, Jammeh said he wanted to return to his farm to “eat what I grow and grow what I eat” – his favourite political slogan. But Jallow-Tambajang claimed that on this farm, in Kanilai, close to the Senegalese border, he had the “bunkers and treasure” to start an insurgency and the coalition feared he could move weapons out of the country.

“He can’t leave. If he leaves, he’s going to escape us,” she said. “We are stopping him from leaving. We are negotiating. He said he wants to go to Kanilai. Any day he tells us he wants to go abroad, then we say no. It’s the presidential prerogative.”

She said the government wanted him prosecuted quickly in case he tried to flee – although it had not yet decided whether to try him in the Gambia or internationally. The government also planned to rejoin the international criminal court – Jammeh withdrew the Gambia from it, so the president who once vowed to bury opposition figures “nine feet deep” could find himself at The Hague.

Prosecution would not be immediate, first, things in the Gambia had to calm down, Jallow-Tambajang said, sitting outside the court where 19 political prisoners were freed on bail on Monday.

“Even if it [the constitution] said that he was to be prosecuted immediately, our government will not do so because of the volatility of the environment. The environment is complex – you see them?” she said, pointing at a large lorry full of soldiers speeding down the road past the court.

There was no question of immunity, however. “He will be prosecuted. I’m saying a year but it could be less than that,” Jallow-Tambajang said. “This is my personal opinion – it might have taken three months because we really want to really work fast.

“We don’t trust him. The longer we leave him, the more possibilities he has to leave the country, to escape from the country and to even do an insurgency. He is capable. The man is capable. In Kanilai, he has bunkers. I have reliable sources that [say that] he has bunkers. I have been reliably informed that he has treasure in Kanilai, he’s sitting on treasure, on gold as they say.”

She said that although Jammeh insisted he wanted to stay on his farm, the new coalition – led by Adama Barrow, a former estate agent who once worked at an Argos in London – suspected him of wanting to move all the weaponry and soldiers he had there over the border to Casamance, in the south of Senegal.

The Gambia’s president-elect, Adama Barrow (centre), greets the crowds after his election victory. Photograph: Joe Sinclair/AFP/Getty Images

“Senegal is very alert,” she said. “Nobody trusts him, so they are also taking their own measures to ensure that nothing goes in. Because if anything goes in he’s going to move all the ammunition to Casamance and start a rebel movement. He’s a rebel.”

There was no deal between Jammeh and Barrow exchanging the acceptance of defeat for a promise of immunity, Jallow-Tambajang said.

“The only time he spoke to Mr Barrow in my presence was when he reluctantly conceded defeat and pledged to cede power from January 2017. There was no deal. We were resolved to really go up to the end. We knew we had won and we didn’t want to compromise any ethics.”

When Jammeh realised he was losing the election, she said, he tried to stop the results from being announced. “But we insisted. [We were] determined to protest if the results were rigged. And he had no support from the international community, from the military, nor the police. He was isolated. He was compelled to take such a decision.”

Jallow-Tambajang said Jammeh had petitioned to meet Barrow but that so far, the president-elect had refused because his predecessor was so unpredictable.

“He wants to meet Barrow. He has asked him to meet at his convenience, but we have decided not to meet him, because we don’t trust him. You can never take chances with Yahya Jammeh. That’s the level of distrust we have, that the population has. Our priority is the security of Barrow.”

Jammeh had amassed “billions of dollars, pounds, whatever” in stolen wealth, she claimed, including from deceased dictators such as Gaddafi and Mobutu who lodged their assets in the Gambia – and one of the things the new government would do was try to get some of it back.

“We are going to have a national commission for asset recovery,” Jallow-Tambajang said. “We’re going to investigate, to follow up not only him but his wife. His wife is a gold-digger. She has emptied our coffers. Each time you see her here it’s to empty our coffers,” she alleged.

He even tried to take the British embassy’s land, she claimed. “They said no – you can’t joke with them. The man is wealthy.”

Culled from The Guardian 



  1. First of all, allow me to thank and praise the Almighty Allah for saving us from 22 years of tyrannical ruler. Above that, let me say thanks to diaspora media outlets for their wonderful job. Without Allah and these diaspora media outlets, Gambia and Gambian people will continue suffering, oppressing , torturing, illegal detain and disappearing for another 5 years to come if example Dictator tyrant YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH won this election. Now, I think all the Gambians owe to diaspora media outlets and we owe to Almighty Allah for saving us from another 5 years of tyrannical and monster ruling from 21st century Dictator YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH and his administration. So let us all continue to pray to Allah to give us lasting peace and protection for our country, the Gambia. Let us also pray to Allah that whoever wants to bring Fitna or satan in whichever form, may Allah destroy that individual or group in this world and hereafter let that individual or group be a dweller of Hellfire. Amen!!!
    Secondly, I think before coalition and president elect Adama Barrow will let Dictator YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH to his home town of KANILAI after taking the oath of office, he should and must collect all the weapons from Kanilai First. They should make sure all the weapons inventory are cross checked first to avoid missing weapons use against our Democrat elected president and his administration. I will never trust Dictator YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH’S one single word. Because he concedes a defeat because of heavy pressure from somewhere not from his own accord. Yahya Jammeh never wants to leave the power. And he and his loyalists will try all their means to bring back to darkness and inhumane 22 years of his dictatorship ruling. So, again, I will never trust him. Whether taking him and inner circle to ICC or not, Allah has something more than this dunya ICC awaiting for them. So I personally don’t worry too much about that. Right now, I worry about Gambians and its properties safeguard. I believe it would be very good for his victims to see that justice served here first in this dunya but for some reason it doesn’t, Allah’s justice will happen when we all died.But right now coalition first priority should and must be safety for Gambians and their properties which can be jeopardize if they neglect Dictator YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH’S every moves while in kanilai with all that weapons there too. Long live for Gambia, long live for coalition, long live for all Gambians and may the victims of Dictator YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH see him face fullest extent of justice in ICC or In the Gambia. May Allah bless our country Gambia and protect our country from any coup detat by Dictator YAHYA AJJ JAMMEH and his loyalist officers. Amen. Once again, may Allah bless the Gambia. Amen

    • Who knows praying for the destruction of wrong doers is a curse itself to a nation. I plead to all religious leaders, spiritual leaders etc.,to pray for the good of the nation including guiding the mindsets of the Gambian citizen to light. The best that Gambian citizens can do for each other is to help enlighten others in darkness about what a progressive civil society and democracy means. Let all prayers be offered towards the progress of the country and the enlightenment of the citizens. Lack of peace is ‘Fitna’ meaning; instability, rows, fights or wars. Gambia had gone through a civil strive thus they say the mere lack of war cannot be considered peace. Gambians have already seen a lot of Fitna and that in my opinion is simply part of the resolve. We didn’t go to a full fletched civil war, thanks to God Allah almighty the Gambia’s political resolve didn’t go that worse, so far so good. I think where all thanks be to God Allah, the enlightened citizenry of the Gambia in their all walks of lifes need to be commended for their demonstrated intelligence and maturity they’ve handled the situation with.
      R.I.P the 30Dec. Rescue Squad.
      R.I.P Solo Sandeng and Solo Nkurumah
      R.I.P Ousman Koro Ceesay
      R.I.P the 2000 massacred school children
      R.I.P all other citizen who died in the struggle to bring us to this great moments today.

      It is in a Fitna situation where others’ heros could be others’ perceived criminals and troubemakers.Fitna always has in it, it’s culprits of hypocrites who have the capabilities of directing curseful spiritual wishings, sorrows and sadnesses towards and into the lifes of mistaken persons or citizens in other words. I hereby plead to all Imams, religious leaders and spiritual leaders alike, of this generatiion to be offering their well wished prayers to the country and its citizen as a whole. The more we accomodate destroyed and misguided citizens as a nation, the more a cursed nation we become. Let ‘hardhearted-Gambian’s’ minds be permeable to good reasoning and understanding. Every single enmity amongst individual Gambians citizens; in work places, family circles or social rapports, is enmity directly inflicting upon a nation somewhere somehow. God Allah bless all Gambians of all walks of life. Let the Gambia’s foundamental constitution be the guide to the nation’s ‘steps’.

      • To say; R.I.P, the fallen of the 30 Dec. Rescue operation Squad. God Allah bless the survivors. All your services to the Gambia cannot be priced.

  2. Now Gambians are “talking & walking the walk”….

    The first task of the Coalition government is to put trustworthy reliable officers in charge of military & security chains of command to ensure their legitimate grip on the nation’s security….

    The whole world will now learn from the democratic & humanity values & truthfulness of Gambians; earning us the Head Quarter of human rights in Africa…

    The law & judicious process will take its course & make us all to account for our own deliberations; justice for all is fair-play…

    Long live the Gambia…

  3. Unbiased Prince

    Such statements coming from Ms Tabajang is totally unguarded with clear cuts of consideration. I believe the Madam is seeking for media headlines and rushing to judgement without consideration. She must stop misreading the come about of where Gambians are today.

    Remember Allah SWTA said; All humans are living in denial except those who advice the truth and forgiveness while acting on similar or such charges.

    What had just happened in the Gambia was not a work of her ingeniously and not by any human being’s capabilities but that of God-AlmightyAllah. We should therefore let our moral consciously lead the way forward from now on.

    If anything, or for the shake of forum debates yea, members of the authorities in government should not dictate or have anything to say or do with how any feature judicial system in the country would operate as the independent judicial body in the country should be efficiently resposible.

    How unrealistic does Madam Tambajang wants to continue through the media by claiming she is going to prosecute Yaya Jammeh without having a case against him from any court of law in the land first is just too unnatural and undemocratic.

    Cuchi dof doflou fee ngamai fecka

    I am expecting more from you Mr Barrow and not by allowing attention seekers do the bidding for you pal.

    • mr prince, i think you need to understand that Madam Tambajang said the new government will look into atrocities committed by jammeh and his regime in the past 22 years . If there is enough evidence to prosecute him , the new government elected by the people will do so. Madam Tambajang has every right to say that . It is not only madam calling for jammeh’s prosecution , majority of our fellow citizens want to see justice happen in our country. I do not want to engage you in a debate whether jammeh should be prosecuted or not , because i believe he will be . when president Barrow assume office , private citizens can file legal case against jammeh . I believe it is in our national security interest to have justice for the victims .

  4. Karma is alive, what goes around comes around.Yaya jammeh sowed, therefore he shall reap.The statementso made by madam Tampa Tambajang is in line with the majority of the peoples around the world.Yaya jammeh was acting like there is no tomorrow.He thought he was not a mortal human being.He can’t terrorized an entire nation for 22 long years and expect nothing to come out of it.He needed to be prosecuted on the basis of the following
    1.The killings of Gambians in broad daylight starting with Koro Caesay to Deyda Hydara down to Solo Sandeng as well as sheriff Dibba, the trade unionist.
    2.The extra judicial executions and enforced disappearances of people like Chief manneh, Dabs Marenah and co.the two Gambian Americans, Ceesay and jobe and so many others.
    3.The torture and maiming of our innocent servicemen from the army down to the police.
    4.The rape and torture of our mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters.
    The Gambian peoples and the world demand answers, and to get these answers, jammeh must answer these questions, and in order to answer these questions, he must be brought before a court of law.Unlike jammeh’s regime where a certain peoples are above the law, in this new Gambia, the law is above everybody.As of Dec 2nd 2016, jammeh is a private citizen like anybody so therefore the law of the land will govern all of us.I was surprised to see jammeh laughing when he was conceding.He should have been crying like the Liberians Samuel Doe.Where is our Gambian money? This guy looted our national coffer to the last butut..We need answers and jammeh will give us the answer.Jammeh should be under house arrest till further notice.He should not be allowed to go anywhere except to his 5 star hotel while waiting for his fate to be decided by the Gambian peoples and the world.WASALAM

  5. Gambians this is your undoing, wait till the handover before saying what will happen, Jammeh as you know is unpredictable. I rather he runs away while the president elect get a grip of the country. Where he goes there will be no safe hiding place for him. But for him to remain and not hand over is tyranny. The whole world is behind the Gambian people. I call on African leaders to recognize the president elect.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *