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FIVE LESSONS TO DRAW FROM THE GAMBIA SHOW DOWN

Written on:January 25, 2017
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www.okayafrica.com /ousted Gambian strongman Jammeh

#1. With bigger and powerful regional countries like Nigeria, and Senegal showing moral leadership and acting with one voice to protecting democracy, Western Africa, is solidifying democratic gains, and it seems the politics of the big man may be over. Stop talking about prosecuting a sitting leader who has conceded an election until he shall have turned over the reigns of power—especially if he has bad human rights record. Jammeh is a case study!

#2. Military coups and electoral fraud may be a thing of the past, but don’t hold your breathe just yet, while coups are severely frown on—and nearly never accepted these days, not so much for electioneering cheating—Jammeh’s only major mistake was conceding and then changing his mind—given that there were no observers he could still have cheated outright and gotten away with it!

#3. That Gambian army refused to fight for Jammeh says a lot: outnumbered by ecowas troops and fire power, smart move anyhow, if national armies would throw their loyalty to the state in such crisis instead of bone headed presidents that attempted to subvert the constitution of their nations, the WHOLE of Africa will democratize in a lightening speed. But replicating the recent Gambian scenario in different settings could be difficult, its a small country and provided a perfect opportunity to showcase what you do with dictators that cling on to power, even as they drag their countries to war in the name of power. It was a strong message that resounded beyond Gambia and West Africa.

#4. Johnson Sirleaf, can put that feather in a cap as she leaves office—that as ecowas chair she provided the leadership together with her peers that saw strongman Jammeh give way—despite efforts and what she called a “ruse” by Jammeh to embarrass her publicly. AND–

#5. Other regional bodies could take a cue from the Western African Experience. Since the intervention in Liberia, beginning in the 1990s, ecowas has gotten more assertive and has spoken largely with one voice and done much to solidify democracy on the subcontinent, mediating and intervening when necessary in such countries as: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, ivory Coast, Bokina Faso, Mali, Gambia, and other hot spots, all in an effort to support democratic gains and often with success—you cant say the same for the SADC and others regional bodies

—R. Geeplay/akklamm@gmail.com

 

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