By Scott Kirwin
Things are getting interesting in West Africa. Gambian President Yahya Jammah who conceded defeat in December’s elections only to days later change his mind has declared a state of emergency as a Nigerian sails off the coast and Senegalese troops prepare to install his successor Adama Barrow. Barrow’s swearing in ceremony is supposed to happen in 2 days, so the only question is whether it happens in the Gambian capital Banjul or in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
The Senegalese know how to handle presidents who overstay their welcome and ignore election results. In 2012 the Senegalese faced a constitutional crisis when president Abdoulaye Wade decided to ignore term limits and run for a third term. They worked it out peacefully in the end but Macky Sall took power after defeating Wade by a large margin in a runoff election. Sall will likely make Yahya an offer he can’t refuse, likely involving a safe escort to that Nigerian warship since Nigeria has offered Yahya asylum.
What happens next is unclear but something is afoot. The only question is whether the change will come peacefully or not. For the sake of all Gambians and their Senegalese relatives, let’s hope for the former.
Meanwhile here’s one for President Yahya Jammah from a friend of the Gambian people: