A huge sigh of relief seems to have heard all over Gambia in the early hours of Saturday as disgraced former President Yahya Jammeh announced on national TV that he would quit power and leave the country.
“I believe in the importance of dialogue and the ability of Africans to solve the challenges of democracy. That is why I decided today to leave the leadership of this great nation,” Jammeh said in a speech.
Intense and ultimate mediation efforts on Friday by Guinea President Alpha Conde and Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz seem to have borne fruits as the former dictator – isolated and rejected by his own army – finally agreed to leave power peacefully to make way for newly elected President Adama Barrow.
But Jammeh did not have a choice because he was starring at the barrels of the guns held by ECOWAS troops who were waiting for the negotiation fiasco to move in and take eject by force.
He said he wanted to preserve the lives of his fellow citizens to avoid bloodshed. The former dictator also thanked his fellow brothers and sisters for ‘supporting’ him during his rule. “I have an immense gratitude for all the Gambians who have supported me for 22 years to build a modern Gambia.”
However, mystery still surrounds the date of his departure and the country of destination which agreed to grant him political asylum. Guinea, Nigeria or Morocco? It could be one of these three but nobody knows – yet.
Photo: Former Gambia President Yahya Jammeh