Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jammeh wins again

Yahya Jammeh, former army lieutenant, has won the presidential election for the third time in a row, voted in by just under 40% of the electorate. There was a lacklustre 59% turnout. Jammeh won 67.3% of the votes, with the two oppostion candidates, Ousainou Darboe and Halifa Sallah getting 27% and 6% respectively. No surprise, in a country with the least free media in West Africa and all significant power in the hands of one person.

Interestingly, The Gambia's traditional musicians are caught up in Gambian power politics. As a recent story by Lucy Fleming on the BBC website shows, they risk being damned if they sing praises and damned if they don't: some of the country's best kora-players – musicians who regularly appear at international music festivals – are obliged to put a positive spin on the country's political leaders in a way that sits uncomfortably with modern democratic principles. Neil Young singing Let's Impeach the President this ain't.

Photo from Mittelbayerische


  1. Ousainou Darboe is now contesting the result, saying it wasn't free and fair. According to the BBC website, quoting Reuters, Jammeh dismissed his critics, saying: "The whole world can go to hell. If I want to ban any newspaper, I will, with good reason."

    And we think Tony Blair's let power go to his head. Aren't you glad Jammeh's not president in your country?

  2. I believe that we should always try to call a spade a spade.

    My only wonder is why the western world/media always dwell on the negative news about Africa.

    There's hardly a positive unbiased report about Africa. You always tend to look at the faults when in fact the places you come from are full of faults.

    Using the opposition groups in Africa to entrench disunity amongst africans is not going to hold water for long.

    Fortunately we have arrived at a new era of knowledge and enlightment and thus we are no longer easily taken aback or cajoled into believing that we are inferior, backward or undemocratic.

    It's like George Owell's book: ANIMAL FARM " we are all equal but some are more equal than others".

    We need to respect the will of our peoples and the sovereignty of ALL nations irrespective of their way of life and systems of governance.

    As long as the people freely and fairly express their will then no one should try and change that.

    If the people so decide that Jammeh should go in the next elections then I have no doubt it will happen.

    We have rich histories, traditions and cultures and most democratic principles are ALREADY ENTRENCHED in our cultures and religions.

    Let's continue to be objective, give constructive criticisms as well as deserved commendations. This world does not belong to anyone nor to any group, we are all human beings and creations of God Almighty, mere mortals.

  3. Hopefully this blog and others like it presents a really positive and broad-ranging view of the many African countries. The Gambia is just one, but it's a country I know quite well. And if we're talking about honesty, assuming that's what Gorgi's first metaphor is referring to, then the criticism in my post is hardly dishonest and I'm certainly not dwelling on anything negative if you look through the other posts. But you have to ask yourself what the Gambia's leader was doing recently, aparting from pulling a publicity stunt, when he visited hospital wards claiming to be able to heal the sick - If it were true, it would be a quite extraordinary phenomenon. But as a leader of one of the world's 180-odd nations, you wouldn't want to advertise the fact. Instead, it simply brought more criticism and ridicule on the country's presidency.