Yahya Jammeh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh)
Jump to: navigation, search
Yahya Jammeh
Yahya Jammeh.jpg
2nd President of the Gambia
In office
29 September 1996 – 21 January 2017[a]
Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy
Preceded by Dawda Jawara
Succeeded by Adama Barrow
Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council
In office
22 July 1994 – 29 September 1996
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jammeh
(1965-05-25) 25 May 1965 (age 52)
Kanilai, the Gambia
Political party Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction
Spouse(s) Zeinab Soumah (1999–present)
Alima Sallah (2010–2011, div.)
Tuti Faal (1994–1998, div.)[1][2][3]
Children 2
Military service
Allegiance  Gambia
Service/branch Gambian National Gendarmerie
Gambian National Army
Years of service 1984–1996
Rank Colonel
Commands Military Police

Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh (born 25 May 1965) is a Gambian politician and former military officer who ruled over the Gambia from 1994 to 2017, firstly as chair of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) (1994–96), and latterly as President of the Gambia (1996-2017).

Jammeh was born in Kanilai, a Muslim of the Jola ethnic group. He attended Gambia High School in Banjul from 1978 to 1983 and served in the Gambia National Gendarmerie from 1984 to 1989. He was then commissioned as an officer of the Gambia National Army, commanding the Military Police from 1992 to 1994. In July 1994, he led a bloodless coup d'etat that overthrew the government of Dawda Jawara and installed himself as chairman of AFPRC, a military junta, and ruled by decree until his election as president in 1996.

Jammeh was re-elected as president in 2001, 2006 and 2011, but lost to Adama Barrow in 2016. His time in office saw the oppression of journalists, LGBT people, and opposition parties. He also led various charitable efforts and led peace efforts in the region. His foreign policy led to a constantly strained relationship with the sole neighbouring country of Senegal. In 2013, Jammeh withdrew the Gambia from the Commonwealth of Nations, and in 2016 he began the process of withdrawing it from the International Criminal Court (later rescinded by the Barrow government).

Early life and military service[edit]

Jammeh was born on 25 May 1965 in Kanilai, a village in the Foni Kansala district of the Western Division. He is the son of Aja Fatou Ashombi Bojang, a housewife and trader, and Abdul Aziz James Junkung Jammeh, a career wrestler. Jammeh's grandparents migrated to the Gambia from the Casamance region of Senegal.[4] He had a rural upbringing as part of a Muslim Jola family, primarily focused in Kanilai. One of his closest childhood friends was reportedly Mustapha James Kujabi.[5] He attended Kanilai primary school, Saint Edwards primary school in Bwiam, from 1972 to 1978. Due to his result in the common entrance (CE) exam, he was awarded a government scholarship to Gambia High School in Banjul, in 1978. His formal education ended after he received his O Levels in 1983.[6][7][8]

In those days, he used to defend the rights of many Gendarmes who for one reason or another had felt apart with the Gendarmerie command and administration and were brought to the [Military Police] for either investigation or punishment. What actually makes him changed into the biggest violator of the human and civic rights of ordinary Gambian citizens is beyond my comprehension
Capt. Bunja Darboe (rtd)[9]

In April 1984, Jammeh joined what was then the Gambian National Gendarmerie as a private. He was part of the Special Intervention Unit from 1984 to 1986 and was an escort training instructor at the Gendarmerie Training School from 1986 to 1989. He was promoted to sergeant in April 1986, and to cadet officer in December 1987.[7] A former Gendarmerie officer, Binneh S. Minteh, later claimed that Jammeh "had always singled out Mandinka’s as bad people" during his time as a Gendarme. In particular, Minteh recalled Jammeh's "ruthless and disrespectful encounter" with sergeant major Kebba Dibba, and when he "brandished a pistol and threatened to shoot" Captain Ebrima Camara simply on the basis of their ethnicity.[10]

He joined the Gambia National Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 29 September 1989, serving as the officer in charge (OIC) of the Presidential Escort, part of the Presidential Guards, from 1989 to 1990. In 1991, he served as the officer commanding (OC) the Mobile Gendarmerie, and from 1992 to 1994 was the OC of the Gambia National Army Military Police. On 1 February 1992, he had been promoted to lieutenant. Jammeh was the head of security detail attached to Pope John Paul II during his visit to the Gambia in February 1992.[11] He attended the Military Police Officers Basic Course (MPOBC) at Fort McClellan in the United States from September 1993 to January 1994, obtaining a Diploma in Military Science.[7]

1994 coup d'etat and military rule[edit]

1994 coup d'etat[edit]

Jammeh was one of the four junior Army officers who organised the 1994 coup d'etat against Dawda Jawara's government. The other three were Sana Sabally, Sadibou Hydara and Edward Singhateh. The coup, which took place on 22 July, was successful and bloodless, leading to Jawara fleeing into exile.[12] Four days later, on 26 July, the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) was formed with Jammeh as its chairman.[8] Jammeh promised that it would be a "coup with a difference", and that the country would be returned to civilian rule "as soon as we have set things right". One result of the coup was that the European Union and the United States, the major donors of foreign aid to the Gambia, suspended their aid programmes until the country was returned to civil rule. Jammeh claimed the suspension of aid programmes amounted to "neocolonialism". A Western diplomat who spoke to The New York Times said, "This is exactly the same phenomenon we have seen elsewhere, with the only difference being that so far there has been no violence." In particular, the coup was compared with Samuel Doe's in the Liberia, which led to the First Liberian Civil War.[6]

The 1994 coup d'etat in the Gambia, overthrowing the government of Dawda Jawara, represented a buck in the post-1989 sub-Saharan Africa trend away from authoritarianism and towards multiparty politics. The Gambia had represented an anomaly in Africa as one of the few countries that had a functioning democracy prior to 1989.[13]

Rule through the AFPRC[edit]

In the aftermath of the coup, Jammeh governed by decree alongside four other junior officers and several civilians. He banned all political activity, arrested two socialist journalists, and detained several of his Army superiors. He also confined ministers of Jawara's government to house arrest.[6] On 17 October, Jammeh announced that there would be a four-year transition to civilian government. In November 1994, the same month when Jammeh was formally promoted to the rank of captain, there was an unsuccessful coup attempt by several disaffected young officers leading in numerous deaths, but Jammeh remained in power. The National Consultative Committee (NCC) was appointed on 7 December to review the transition process, and when they reported on 27 January 1995, they recommended a two-year transition period. The same day as the NCC's report, two of the original coup leaders, Sabally and Hydara, launched an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Jammeh as chairman. Subsequently, Singhateh was appointed as vice-chairman of the AFPRC, and Hydara died in prison on 3 June.[12]

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) was appointed in April 1995 and reported to the government in November 1995. Its report was published in March 1996 was put to a national referendum on 8 August 1996. The new constitution, which provided for multiparty elections, an unlimited number of five-year presidential terms, and a lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18, was approved by a majority of 70%. According to Saine, Jammeh would "[enjoy] unrivalled political and economic power as a consequence of the new constitution. In contrast, opposition political parties [would be] sidelined and allowed little political space in a one-sided electoral contest in which Jammeh was the assured ‘winner’."[14] Decree no. 89, issued on 14 August, reiterated the ban on the PPP, the NCP and the GPP, but lifted the ban on the PDOIS and the PDP. In 1996, on 28 August, Jammeh was formally promoted to the rank of colonel and then retired from the army on 6 September, one month before the 1996 presidential election.[12] His retirement was marked by a ceremony that was described as "actually a political event made palatable by a patina of military pomp."[15]

Jammeh used Ghanian leader Jerry Rawlings's model of transition from military to civil rule as a benchmark for his own transition.[16]

President of Gambia[edit]

1996 and 1997 elections[edit]

Jammeh won the 1996 presidential election as the APRC candidate, winning 56% of the vote and beating Ousainou Darboe, Hamat Bah and Sidia Jatta. Darboe was forced to seek refuge in the Senegalese embassy in Banjul, fearing an assassination plot.[17] In the 1997 parliamentary election, the first to the new National Assembly put in place by the 1996 constitution, the APRC won a majority of seats. However, these two elections, the first following the transition from military to civil rule, were "marred by provisions of the new, doctored constitution, an electoral commission appointed by Jammeh alone in 1995 and a political network that included the Green Boys – a now-disbanded vigilante group that was mobilised to intimidate the electorate to ensure Jammeh’s ‘victory’." Saine argues that this combination of intimidation and harassment of the opposition, an inherent bias provided by the 1996 constitution, as well as a distinct financial advantage, meant that "the presidential and national assembly elections were lost long before the first ballot was cast."[14]

Elections[edit]

Jammeh founded the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction as his political party. He was elected as president in September 1996.[18] Foreign observers did not deem these elections free and fair.[18] He was re-elected on 18 October 2001 with about 53% of the vote; this election was generally deemed free and fair by observers,[19] despite some very serious shortcomings ranging from overt government intimidation of voters to technical innovations (such as raising the required deposit to stand for election by a factor of 25) to distort the process in favour of the incumbent regime.[20]

A coup attempt against Jammeh was reported to have been thwarted on 21 March 2006; Jammeh, who was in Mauritania at the time, quickly returned home. Army chief of staff Col. Ndure Cham, the alleged leader of the plot,[21] reportedly fled to neighbouring Senegal, while other alleged conspirators were arrested[22] and were put on trial for treason.[23] In April 2007, ten former officers accused of involvement were convicted and given prison sentences; four of them were sentenced to life in prison.[24]

Jammeh ran for a third term in the presidential election held on 22 September 2006; the election was initially planned for October but was moved forward because of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.[25] He was re-elected with 67.3% of the vote and was declared the winner of the election; the opposition candidate Ousainou Darboe finished second, as in 2001.[26]

In November 2011, Jammeh was again re-elected as president for a fourth term in office, reportedly having received 72% of the popular vote.

Domestic policy[edit]

Suppression of the press and media[edit]

One of Jammeh's consistent targets throughout his time as President was the press and the media, as a whole as well as individual journalists. In 1998, the independent Citizen FM radio station was forced to close after a number of its staff were arrested and its equipment was confiscated. After its American proprietor sold it to a businessman with close ties to Jammeh in 1999, The Daily Observer became notably pro-Jammeh.[27] In August 2000, the pro-democracy Radio 1 FM suffered an arson attack.[28] Jammeh was able to use Gambia Radio & Television Service as his personal propaganda outlet whenever he required.[29]

Jammeh has made a number of public statements against the press. In July 2000, he said that "anybody bent on disturbing the peace and stability of the nation [would] be buried six feet deep."[28] In April 2004, Jammeh told journalists to obey his government "or go to hell". In June 2005, he said that he has allowed "too much expression" in the Gambia.[30]

In response to his suppression of the press and media in the Gambia, various online newspapers and radio stations were established by self-exiled Gambian journalists in order to shed light on the atrocities of the Jammeh regime. These include Freedom Newspaper, The Gambia Echo and Gainako.[29]

Jammeh also saw through legislation to restrict the activities of the press. The Newspaper Act 1994 imposed criminal penalties on private publications that failed to pay a yearly registration fee. The National Media Communication Act 2000 forced journalists to reveal confidential sources to police and the judiciary on demand.[28] In December 2004, the Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill 2004 allowed prison terms for defamation and sedition. The same month, the Newspaper (Amendment) Bill 2004 required newspaper proprietors to purchase expensive operating licenses and forcing them to register their homes as security.

A number of individual journalists were also targeted. In December 2004, Deyda Hydara, then editor of The Point, announced his intention to publicly challenge newly-introduced legislation restricting press freedoms. He was shot and killed when driving home in Banjul on 16 December, leading to thousands protesting on the streets.[31] Some pointed at the government, led by Jammeh, as the murderers, but it has remained unsolved.[31] Furthermore, in July 2006, Ebrima Manneh of The Daily Observer was arrested by state security after attempting to publish a BBC report critical of Jammeh. His arrest was witnessed by his coworkers,[32] and, despite being ordered to release Manneh by an ECOWAS court, the government denied that Manneh was still imprisoned.[33] An unnamed police source said that he believed Manneh "is no longer alive".[33] Both Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called for his release.[32][34]

Women's rights[edit]

In December 2015, Jammeh banned female genital mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia, labelling the practice of FGM as having "no place in Islam or in modern society"; anyone that ignored the ban would face a prison sentence of up to three years. After the end of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr in July 2016, Jammeh further announced a ban on child marriages. In 2016, some 30% of women were married while under the age of 18. Yahya Jammeh's response was that anyone caught marrying a girl under 18 years of age would be jailed for up to twenty years.[35]

Judiciary[edit]

As President, Jammeh had significant influence over the judiciary in the Gambia, particularly because Section 98 of the 1996 constitution permits the President to appoint judges directly.[36] Saine argues that Jammeh's employment of mainly foreign judges allows him to effectively issue tough sentences to reduce dissent and to imprison both real and perceived threats to the president's power.[37]

LGBT rights[edit]

On 15 May 2008, Jammeh announced that his government would introduce legislation that would set laws against homosexuals that would be "stricter than those in Iran", and that he would "cut off the head" of any gay or lesbian person discovered in the country.[38] News reports indicated his government intended to execute all homosexuals in the country.[38] In a speech given in Tallinding, Jammeh gave a "final ultimatum" to any gays or lesbians in the Gambia, warning them to leave the country.[38] In a speech to the United Nations on 27 September 2013, Jammeh said "[h]omosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which, though very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah, is being promoted as a human right by some powers," who "want to put an end to human existence."[39] On 18 February 2014, Jammeh called homosexuals "vermins" by saying that: "We will fight these vermins [sic] called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively". He also went on to disparage the LGBT by saying that "As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis, all of which are detrimental to human existence".[40][41]

In May 2015, in defiance of western criticism Jammeh intensified his anti-gay rhetoric, telling a crowd during an agricultural tour: "If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat – if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it."[42]

This prompted a fresh round of condemnation from international human rights leaders. US National Security Advisor Susan Rice released a statement of condemnation on 16 May 2015: "We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia," said Rice. "We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government's hands."[43]

HIV/AIDS policy[edit]

In January 2007, Jammeh claimed he could cure HIV/AIDS and asthma with natural herbs.[44][45] His claimed treatment program includes instructing patients to cease taking their anti-retroviral drugs.[46][47] His claims have been criticised for promoting unscientific treatment that could have dangerous results, including the infection of others by those who thought they had been cured by the method.[44][45] In December 2011, he restated during an interview that the alleged cure for HIV/AIDS was "going very well".[48]

Fadzai Gwaradzimba, the country representative of the United Nations Development Programme in the Gambia, was told to leave the country after she expressed doubts about the claims and said the remedy might encourage risky behaviour.[49] In August 2007, Jammeh claimed to have developed a single dose herbal infusion that could treat high blood pressure.[50] Jammeh has also claimed to develop a treatment for infertility in women as part of what is called the President's Alternative Treatment Program (PATP).[51][52][53]

Foreign policy[edit]

Senegal[edit]

August and October 2005 saw a border feud with Senegal over increased ferry prices for crossings over the Gambia River.[54] Jammeh has a close relationship with Jolas in the Casamance region of Senegal, who allow him to "rule with impunity". In turn, Jammeh has supported the rebels in the Casamance conflict, by engaging in the trade of illegal drugs, small arms, and also money-laundering with the rebel groups.[37]

Mediation and peacekeeping role[edit]

Shortly after the outbreak of the Guinea-Bissau Civil War in June 1998, Jammeh sought a peaceful resolution to the conflict. He personally canvassed regional opinion on the war in Cape Verde, Mauritania, Guinea and Senegal, and sent Momodou Lamin Sedat Jobe, his foreign minister, to meet with rebel leader Ansumane Mané to fruitlessly attempt to arrange peace talks in Banjul.

According to The Daily Observer, on 10 December 2012, Jammeh secured the release of Senegalese soldiers who had been held as hostages by rebels in Senegal.[55] He sent a delegation to meet with Senegalese President Macky Sall in early December 2012. The delegation's goal was to discuss a resolution to the ongoing civil unrest in Senegal's southern region of Cassamance.[56] Members of the delegation included the Minister of Presidential Affairs, the US Ambassador to the Gambia, and members from the Red Cross and Red Crescent.[56]

The Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) was created by Jammeh to help eradicate poverty among Gambians, improve agricultural production, and sponsor educational opportunities for needy students. The foundation has a hospital that is sponsored by the president and provides medical services to the general public.[57]

Donations in 2012 included $2,563,138 to the National Youths Conference and Festival (NAYCONF),[58] and "two truckloads of turkey" to the Gambia Christian Council for delivery to the Christian community. Jammeh also bankrolled the university of education for less privileged Gambians and non-Gambians alike both home and abroad.[59]

 China and Taiwan[edit]

Taiwan was formerly the "financial lifeline" for the regime, as part of its campaign for international support at the United Nations.[29]

Alleged human rights abuses[edit]

Shooting of students[edit]

On 10 and 11 April 2000, the government was accused of the killing of 14 students and a journalist during a student demonstration to protest the death of a student in The Gambia. Jammeh was accused of ordering the shooting of the students, but the government denied the allegations. A government commission of inquiry reportedly concluded that the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers were "largely responsible" for many of the deaths and other injuries.[60] The commission also said that five soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion were responsible for the deaths of two students at Brikama. The government stated that the report implicated several PIU officers in the students' deaths and injuries, but those responsible were not prosecuted.[60]

Disappearances and imprisonments[edit]

Newspaper reports list dozens of individuals who have disappeared after being picked up by men in plain-clothes, and others who have languished under indefinite detention for months or years without charge or trial.[61] The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court ordered the Gambia government to produce one journalist who was disappeared.[62][63][64] In April 2016, at least 50 people were arrested during a demonstration, and there were fears that Solo Sandeng, an opposition politician, died alongside two others while being held in detention. In July 2016, a Gambian opposition leader and another 18 people were sentenced to three years in jail for participation in the April demonstration. A Gambian diplomat publicly denied that Solo Sandeng had died in custody.[65]

Witch hunting campaign[edit]

In March 2009 Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 Gambians had been abducted by government-sponsored "witch doctors" on charges of witchcraft, and taken to detention centres where they were forced to drink poisonous concoctions.[66] On 21 May 2009, The New York Times reported that the alleged witch-hunting campaign had been sparked by the President Yahya Jammeh, who believed that the death of his aunt earlier that year could be attributed to witchcraft.[67]

2016 election, crisis and ECOWAS intervention[edit]

Ahead of the 2016 presidential election a number of opposition members, including United Democratic Party leader Ousainou Darboe, were sentenced to three years in jail for staging pro-democracy protests. In a public address, Jammeh called members of the opposition "opportunistic people supported by the West," adding that "I will bow to only Allah and my mother. I will never tolerate opposition to destabilize this country."[65] The election itself took place on 1 December 2016 and, in a surprise[to whom?] result, Jammeh was defeated by Adama Barrow leading a coalition of opposition parties.[68] Jammeh stated that he would not contest the result.[69]

Although he initially conceded defeat, on 9 December 2016, he rejected the result citing "unacceptable abnormalities".[70] He subsequently announced he had annulled the result, pending a new vote.[71] He then filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the Gambia to contest the result.[72] The court began hearing the case on 21 December.[73] ECOWAS warned on 23 December that it would militarily intervene to uphold the results of the election if Yahya didn't resign by 19 January.[74] He appointed six new judges to the Supreme Court, having sacked all but one in 2015. The hearing was to be heard on 10 January,[75] but was delayed until May.[76] He stated he would only relinquish the presidency if the court upheld the election result.

Yahya Jammeh.

The African Union additionally stated that it would stop recognising Jammeh as president as of 19 January 2017.[77] He attempted to have Barrow's inauguration blocked, but the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court refused to rule on the matter.[78] On Tuesday 17 January, he declared a 90-day state of emergency, prohibiting "acts of disobedience" and "acts intended to disturb public order". Various ministers resigned, and about 46,000 civilians (about 75% of whom were children) fled the country.[79][80][81] Senegal, which was selected by ECOWAS to lead the operation to remove Jammeh from his post, moved its troops closer to the border with The Gambia on 18 January. Jammeh was warned to step down by midnight.[82] Jammeh however refused to step down even after the deadline passed.[83] On 18 January, parliament voted to extend his term by three months,[84] however Adama Barrow was still internationally recognised as President.[85] On 19 January, Senegalese troops entered The Gambia.[86] The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution backing Barrow while calling on Jammeh to step down. It backed ECOWAS' efforts to ensure the results of the 2016 presidential election are respected by using political means first.[87] Senegal later halted its offensive to mediate the crisis one final time, with the invasion to proceed at noon on 20 January if Jammeh still refuses to relinquish power.[88] Jammeh again refused to step down and missed two deadlines on 20 January while regional leaders tried to persuade him to step down.[89]

During the early hours on 21 January, he announced on state television that he was stepping down from the post of President,[90][91] and left the country later on the same day for Guinea, then proceeded onward to Equatorial Guinea.[92][93]

Exile[edit]

As Jammeh left Gambia on 21 January, Barrow stated that a "truth and reconciliation commission" will be appointed to investigate any possible crimes committed by him. However Barrow cautioned that it won't prosecute Jammeh, only investigate the alleged crimes,[94] though West African leaders did not guarantee any form of immunity to Jammeh.[95] The United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS declared that any country offering refuge to him or his family will not be punished and he should be free to return to the country in the future. The statement also added that it will work with the government of the Gambia to make sure that assets and properties legally belonging to him or his family, Cabinet members, government officials or party supporters will not be seized.[96] Jammeh later left Gambia for Equatorial Guinea.[97]

After Jammeh went in exile, Adama Barrow's special adviser Mai Ahmad Fatty alleged that in late January 2017 that Jammeh had stolen $11.4 million from the state's treasury and used a cargo plane to ship out his luxury vehicles during his last week in power. He added that the state's treasury was virtually empty which was confirmed by technicians in the Ministry of Finance as well as the Central Bank of the Gambia.[98] About a month later, two senior ministers alleged that he had siphoned at least $50 million from social security, ports, and the national telecoms company. They also alleged that his private jet which cost $4.5 million was bought from the state's pension fund. The government stated that his actions had left the country with a debt of more than $1 billion.[99] Reuters released a report regarding Jammeh's charity on 24 February 2017 in which it stated that funds from the Jammeh Foundation for Peace went to Jammeh himself, not to the foundation's projects.[100] The Minister of Justice announced on 10 March that the government would launch an investigation into his finances including his personal use of a charity bank account.[101]

In March 2017, Jammeh was photographed on a farm in Equatorial Guinea.[102] A Gambian court froze Jammeh’s known remaining assets in the Gambia in May 2017 after it emerged he had siphoned off $50 million of public money through the state-owned telecommunications company Gamtel to his own bank accounts during his presidency.[103]

Personal life[edit]

Yahya and Zeinab Jammeh with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House, August 2014.

Marriages[edit]

Jammeh is an ethnic Jola.[104] Jammeh briefly dated Tuti Faal, of Mauritanian descent, in 1994 before marrying her. She worked for the Gambia Telecommunication Company (GAMTEL) until the coup in July 1994. They had difficulty conceiving a child, and in 1998 Jammeh sent her to Saudi Arabia for a gynaecological exam, and during her time abroad, divorced her.[105] Jammeh married his second wife Zeinab (Zineb) Suma Jammeh, on 26 March 1999.[105][106] They have two children as of 2007, a daughter, Mariam Jammeh, and a son, Muhammed Yahya Jammeh. The latter was born in late 2007, when his daughter was eight years old.[107]

On 30 September 2010, Jammeh announced his marriage to a 21-year-old (or possibly 18-year-old[1]) additional wife by the name Alima Sallah, daughter of Omar Gibril Sallah, Gambia's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Zahra Sallah.[105][108] It was announced that his new wife would officially be referred to as Lady Alima Yahya Jammeh, and would not be referred to as a "first lady", since Zeinab Suma Jammeh is the official "first lady".[108]

According to at least one source, his marriage to Ms. Sallah was a shock to his other wife Zeinab Suma Jammeh, and the additional marriage led to strains in their relationship and even plans for their divorce.[109] Zeinab Jammeh had reportedly already been living in the US separately from her husband for some time.[109] Ms. Sallah reportedly also left Gambia for the US in June 2010.[109] According to the same publication, he then divorced Ms. Sallah in early 2011.[1][2]

Religion[edit]

Jammeh, like the majority of Gambians, practices Islam.[110] In July 2010, Jammeh stressed that people should believe in God: "If you don't believe in God, you can never be grateful to humanity and you are even below a pig."[111] In 2011 he told the BBC, "I will deliver to the Gambian people and if I have to rule this country for one billion years, I will, if Allah says so."[112] On 12 December 2015, Jammeh declared the Muslim-majority country to be an Islamic republic, saying the move marked a break with the Gambia's colonial past. Jammeh told state TV that the proclamation was in line with Gambia's "religious identity and values." He added that no dress code would be imposed and citizens of other faiths would be allowed to practice freely.[113]

Titles and styles[edit]

The official title used was His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Awal Jemus Junkung Jammeh Naasiru Deen Babili Mansa.[114] He was Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces and Chief Custodian of the Sacred Constitution of the Gambia.[115]

On 16 June 2015, a statement from the State House stated that President Jammeh should be addressed as "His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh Babili Mansa".[116] The title Babili Mansa, which the President decided to drop in December 2014, is a phrase in the Mandinka language that could be translated as either "Chief Bridge Builder" or "Conqueror of Rivers".[117][118] Two months before, he had already removed the title Nasirul Deen ("Defender of the Faith"), which had been conferred to him by the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council.[119] Unofficially in the Gambia Jammeh is referred to as "Papa Don't Take No Mess".[120]

Awards and honours[edit]

Jammeh has received honorary doctorates from Saint Mary's University of Halifax in 1999 for providing his citizens "freedom to pursue their well-being, and to live in peace and harmony",[121] St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2004,[122][123] Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica, Norman Academy,[124] and National Taipei University of Technology.[125]

He has received awards through the unrecognised higher education accreditation organisation the International Parliament for Safety and Peace. It is noted that Jammeh has previously been said to have been awarded a Nebraska Admiral certificate however Rae Hein, a spokeswoman for the Governor of Nebraska, stated "We regret that this individual has attempted to embellish a certificate for a Nebraska admiralship, claiming that it was a high honour bestowed upon him by the governor, when to the best of our knowledge, this person has no relationship with or ties to Nebraska."[126]

Depiction on Gambian currency[edit]

Yahya Jammeh's portrait is depicted on some of the Gambian dalasi banknotes;

2014 polymer 20 Dalasis banknote commemorating 20 Years of his regime.

The N.D. (2015) issue banknotes - 5 Dalasis up to 200 Dalasis.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The date of the end of his term was disputed. His presidential term was originally scheduled to end on 19 January 2017, and the next president was sworn in on that date. However, Jammeh refused to relinquish power until 21 January 2017 when he was forced to step down after a regional military intervention.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Breaking News: Gambia – Jammeh Divorces First Lady Alima Sallah, Freedom Now Newspaper online, 26 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b Breaking News: Gambia – First Lady Jammeh to Visit us Next Week, Freedom Now Newspaper online, 18 June 2011. HE reportedly tied the knot with a 22-year-old charming Ghanaian lady in Kumasi last weekend. Mrs. Nora Jammeh, formerly called Munira Yahaya, a graduate of Sunyani Polytechnic, was engaged to the Gambian president two weeks ago in the Gambia, which was followed by the secret wedding at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi in 2012.
  3. ^ "Yahya Jammeh Wife: Who Is Married To The Gambian President". Morning Ledger. 16 December 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  4. ^ M'Bai, p. 90
  5. ^ "The Gambian Dictator Who Kills His Own Family Members To Stay In Power". Freedom Newspaper. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c French, Howard W. (28 August 1994). "In Gambia, New Coup Follows Old Pattern". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c "President Jammeh takes nomination turn at IEC today". The Point. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Hughes and Perfect, pp. 109-111
  9. ^ Darboe, Bunja (12 July 2016). "Why Am I Speaking Now?". Jollof News. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Minteh, Binneh S. (16 June 2016). "President Jammeh’s Threats against Mandinka’s in Gambia are Irresponsible and Repugnant of a National Leader". Gainako. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "The Man Who Provided Security To The Late Pope John Paul, the II, In February Of 1992, Later Toppled Jawara From Power". Freedom Newspaper. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c Hughes and Perfect, p. xxix
  13. ^ Edie, Carlene, J. (2000). "Democracy in the Gambia: Past, Present and Prospects for the Future". Africa Development. XXV: 161–198. 
  14. ^ a b Saine, p. 261
  15. ^ "Chairman Jammeh Retires From The Army - As A Colonel". Wikileaks. 13 September 1996. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  16. ^ Obeta, Miracle (2009). "A Tale of Two Regimes/Countries: A Comparative Analysis of Democratic Transitions in Ghana and the Gambia". Miami University. 
  17. ^ "Gambia army ruler wins election". CNN. 28 September 1996. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Background Note: The Gambia, U.S. Department of State, 22 April 2011.
  19. ^ Country Report on Human Rights Practices for The Gambia, U.S. Department of State, 4 March 2002.
  20. ^ "Democratization in Africa" by Diamond and Plattner (ed), Johns Hopkins University Press (1999), pages 216–227 [1]
  21. ^ "Attempted coup averted, government says", IRIN, 22 March 2006.
  22. ^ "Arrests over Gambia 'coup plot'", BBC News, 28 March 2006.
  23. ^ "Suspected Gambian coupists before court martial", Afrol News, 6 October 2006.
  24. ^ "Gambia jails army coup plotters", Reuters (IOL), 20 April 2007.
  25. ^ "Q&A: Gambia votes", BBC News, 21 September 2006.
  26. ^ "Gambian president is re-elected", BBC News, 23 September 2006.
  27. ^ "Attacks on the Press 1999: The Gambia". Committee to Protect Journalists. 22 March 2000. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  28. ^ a b c "Attacks on the Press 2000: The Gambia". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2001. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  29. ^ a b c Saine, p. 263
  30. ^ Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh, Reporters Without Borders.
  31. ^ a b "Thousands protest peacefully at murder of journalist", IRIN, 22 December 2004.
  32. ^ a b "Gambia must account for missing journalist Ebrima Manneh". Committee to Protect Journalists. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  33. ^ a b "Missing Gambia journalist is dead: police". Agence France-Presse. 14 April 2009. Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  34. ^ "Ebrima Manneh". Amnesty International. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  35. ^ "Gambia and Tanzania outlaw child marriage". 8 July 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016 – via bbc.co.uk. 
  36. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia" (PDF). University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. 
  37. ^ a b Saine, p. 262
  38. ^ a b c President Jammeh Gives Ultimatum for Homosexuals to Leave, Gambia News, 19 May 2008.
  39. ^ Gambian president says gays a threat to human existence-20130928, Reuters, 28 September 2013.
  40. ^ "Gambia's Jammeh calls gays 'vermin', says to fight like mosquitoes". Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  41. ^ "Tainting love". The Economist. 11 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  42. ^ Gambian President Says He Will Slit Gay Men's Throats in Public Speech, Vice News, 11 May 2015
  43. ^ U.S. slams Gambia president's anti-gay comments, Washington Blade, 16 May 2015
  44. ^ a b "President's 'HIV cure' condemned", BBC News, 2 February 2007.
  45. ^ a b President Jammeh discharges 41 HIV/AIDS treated patients, The Daily Observer (Banjul), 12 July 2010.
  46. ^ Gambian president's claim of AIDS cure causes alarm, USA Today, 20 February 2007.
  47. ^ Dibba, L. M., Jammeh starts curing HIV/AIDS patients today, The Daily Observer (Banjul), 18 January 2007.
  48. ^ "Gambia President Yahya Jammeh: Critics 'can go to hell'", BBC News, 12 December 2011
  49. ^ "Country profile: The Gambia", BBC News, 4 March 2008.
  50. ^ Gambia television, 20 August 2007.
  51. ^ "Gambia President Yahya Jammeh Continues 'Fertility Treatment'". PanaPress. 1 October 2011. 
  52. ^ More Barren Women Seek President Jammeh's Treatment, All Africa Global Media, 2 October 2011.
  53. ^ Fadera, H., President Jammeh Discharges Ninth Batch of Infertility Patients, The Daily Observer (Banjul) – All Africa Global Media, 17 October 2011.
  54. ^ "Bid to solve Senegal-Gambia feud". BBC News. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  55. ^ "Gambia Secures Release of Eight Senegalese Soldiers From MFDC", The Daily Observer (Banjul), 10 December 2012
  56. ^ a b "Gambia to Discuss with Senegal Over Cassamance Conflict," Xinhua, 10 December 2012
  57. ^ "Gambia; All Set for JFP Dinner", The Daily Observer (Banjul), 7 December 2012
  58. ^ "Gambia; NAYCONF Gets D2.5 Million Presidential Contribution", The Daily Observer (Banjul), 6 December 2012
  59. ^ "Gambia; President Jammeh Largesse to Christian Community", The Daily Observer, 24 December 2012
  60. ^ a b Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: The Gambia, U.S. Dept. of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 23 February 2001.
  61. ^ Ceesay, F. B., Disappearance Without Trace or Detention Without Trial, FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda), 5 July 2010.
  62. ^ "ECOWAS Court Orders Gambian Gov't To Produce Missing Journalist – Blogger News Network". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  63. ^ AIUK: Search actions: Gambia: Release journalist Ebrima B. Manneh
  64. ^ [2][dead link]
  65. ^ a b "Gambia jails opposition leader and 18 other protesters for demanding electoral changes", International Business Times, 21 July 2016
  66. ^ "The Gambia: Hundreds accused of "witchcraft" and poisoned in government campaign". 18 March 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  67. ^ "Witch Hunts and Foul Potions Heighten Fear of Leader in Gambia". The New York Times. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  68. ^ "Gambia's Adama Barrow says shock win heralds 'new hope'". BBC. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  69. ^ Robbie, Corey-Boulet; John, Abdoulie (3 December 2016). "Gambia leader's hold on power ends with surprising speed". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  70. ^ "Gambia leader Yahya Jammeh rejects election result". BBC News. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  71. ^ Gambia's president 'annuls' election he lost, 10 December 2016, retrieved 10 December 2016 
  72. ^ "Gambia leader Yahya Jammeh to contest election defeat in court". BBC News. 11 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  73. ^ "Gambia: Breaking News: Supreme Court Begins Hearing Jammeh’s Election Petition". Freedom Newspaper. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  74. ^ "West African bloc threatens to invade Gambia if incumbent Jammeh refuses to give up power". The Independent. 23 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  75. ^ "Defiant Gambia president lets the clock run". Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  76. ^ Osei, Leticia (12 January 2017). "Gambia's President Jammeh vows 'to stay till election ruling'". Ultimate FM. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  77. ^ "African Union says it will stop recognising Jammeh as Gambian president from January 19". Reuters. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  78. ^ "Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow's son killed by dog". BBC News. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  79. ^ "State of emergency declared in The Gambia". BBC News. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  80. ^ "Gambian President Jammeh declares state of emergency". Reuters. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  81. ^ Baloch, Babar (20 January 2017). "Senegal: Around 45,000 have fled political uncertainty in The Gambia". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  82. ^ "Senegal troops move to Gambia border as Jammeh faces ultimatum". BBC. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  83. ^ "Senegal troops move to Gambia border as Jammeh faces ultimatum". BBC. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017. [dead link]
  84. ^ "Gambia's parliament extends defeated president's office by 3 months – Top News". Reuters. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  85. ^ "Gambia crisis: Barrow sworn in in Senegal as Jammeh stays put". BBC News. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  86. ^ "Gambia crisis: Senegal sends in troops to back elected leader". Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  87. ^ "UN adopts resolution backing Gambia's new President Barrow". The Washington Post. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017. [dead link]
  88. ^ "West African military halt Gambia operation, issue Jammeh deadline". Swissinfo. Reuters. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  89. ^ Ruth Maclean (20 January 2017). "The Gambia: Jammeh ignores two more deadlines to quit". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  90. ^ "Gambia's Yahya Jammeh confirms he will step down". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 
  91. ^ "Gambia's Jammeh, facing military pressure, says steps down". Reuters. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  92. ^ Cocks, Tim; Jahateh, Lamin. "Gambia's former leader Jammeh flies into exile in Equatorial Guinea". Reuters. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  93. ^ "Ex-President Yahya Jammeh leaves The Gambia after losing election". BBC News. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016. 
  94. ^ "Adama Barrow pledges truth commission over Yahya Jammeh". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  95. ^ "No immunity deal agreed for Gambia's Jammeh, Senegal minister says". Reuters. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  96. ^ "Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh goes into exile". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  97. ^ "Gambia's former leader Jammeh flies into exile in Equatorial Guinea". Reuters. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  98. ^ Jason Burke (23 January 2017). "Exiled former president Yahya Jammeh 'stole $11.4m' from the Gambia". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  99. ^ Ruth Maclean, Saikou Jammeh (23 February 2017). "New claims over scale of ex-Gambian leader's theft from state coffers". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  100. ^ "Exclusive: How money flowed to Gambia's ex president". Reuters. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  101. ^ "Gambia to probe Jammeh’s finances". The Nation. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  102. ^ Ismail Akwei, "Exiled Yahya Jammeh works on Equatorial Guinea farm 'for the cameras'", Africanews, 22 March 2017.
  103. ^ "Gambian authorities seize ex-president Jammeh's bank accounts". 
  104. ^ "A shock victory for the underdog in Gambia". The Economist. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  105. ^ a b c President Jammeh Marries Second Wife, Daily Observer, 4 October 2010.
  106. ^ Happy 16th wedding Anniversary to my beloved husband. May GOD The ALMIGHTY continue to bless our union for ever., First Lady of Gambia on Twitter, 26 March 2015.
  107. ^ Christening of Baby Muhammed Yahya Jammeh, Office of the Gambian President website, 31 December 2007.
  108. ^ a b Gambian president takes 21 year old Alima Sallah as second wife, Gambia News, 3 October 2010.
  109. ^ a b c M'Bai, P. N., Breaking News: Gambia: Second First Lady Alima Sallah Arrives in U. S. – Amidst Mounting Tensions in Kanilai Freedom Newspaper, 28 June 2010.
  110. ^ ""President Jammeh's BBC interview" (reprinted in the Daily Observer, Gambia, 13 December 2011)". Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  111. ^ Ndow, M., and Fadera, H., Democracy of Exploitation Will Never Happen in This Country, The Daily Observer (Banjul), 26 July 2010.
  112. ^ "Gambia's Yahya Jammeh ready for 'billion-year' rule". BBC News. 12 December 2011. 
  113. ^ "Gambia declared Islamic republic by President Yahya Jammeh". BBC News. 12 December 2015. 
  114. ^ pdf[dead link]
  115. ^ Republic of The Gambia State House Online: Office of the President, Republic of the Gambia government website.
  116. ^ "PRESIDENT TO BE ADDRESSED AS HIS EXCELLENCY SHEIKH PROFESSOR ALHAJI DR. YAHYA A.J.J. JAMMEH BABILI MANSA" (Press release). Banjui: State House of the Gambia. 16 June 2015. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  117. ^ "Gambia's President Jammeh gets extra title of 'bridge builder'". BBC News. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  118. ^ "Gambia: President Jammeh ditches Babili Mansa title". StarAfrica. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  119. ^ "Jammeh retakes 'Babili Mansa' title". The Point. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  120. ^ Ralph Ese'Donnu Sawyerr. "Gambian President Yahya Jammeh changes his names again". Newstime Africa. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  121. ^ "Citation for President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh on the Occasion of Presenting Him for the Degree of Doctor of Civil Law (Honoris Causa)". Saint Mary's University. 16 February 1999. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  122. ^ "Message from the President: St. Mary's College's PEACE Program – SMCM Newsroom". 24 June 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  123. ^ Janko, Sheriff (6 July 2012). "Gambia: St Mary's College Students Observe U.S. Independence Day". Retrieved 26 November 2016 – via AllAfrica. 
  124. ^ Buba Bojang. "GRTS Radio News May 23, 2012". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  125. ^ "Office of The Gambian President: State House Online: Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh". Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  126. ^ "Jammeh 'award' coverage reflects chill in Gambian press – Committee to Protect Journalists". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hughes, Arnold (2000). "'Democratisation' under the military in The Gambia: 1994–2000". Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 38 (3): 35–52. doi:10.1080/14662040008447825. 
  • Perfect, David (2010). "The Gambia under Yahya Jammeh: An Assessment". The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs. 99 (406): 53–63. doi:10.1080/00358530903513681. 
  • Saine, Abdoulaye (2008). "The Gambia's 'Elected Autocrat Poverty, Peripherality, and Political Instability,' 1994–2006". Armed Forces & Society. 34 (3): 450–473. doi:10.1177/0095327X07312081. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dawda Jawara
President of the Gambia
1996–2017
Succeeded by
Adama Barrow
Preceded by
Neneh MacDouall-Gaye
Foreign Minister of the Gambia
2017 – 2017
Succeeded by
Ousainou Darboe