President Jammeh of The Gambia has captivated the world with his eccentric approach to governance. He has held the tiny country hostage for the last 22 years, driving it into international notoriety mixed with a simplistic combination of barely literate policies and heavy set use of force to keep the people in line.
So, after 22 years and a series of fake and carefully orchestrated elections which he won in landslides, you will pardon the world when we all watched in disbelieve him conceding the electoral victory to his opponent who had come to the elections with little or no pedigree.
I personally watched the video. He was calm, friendly and very warm. He laced his speech with so much prayers for both his opponent and Gambia. But at some point when the call became rather long I began to feel something sinister.My intuition told me that this was not going to be as smooth as we all have been envisaging. I could see from his body language the loss of confidence. He had started getting sarcastic and the prayers started feeling empty.
So today, he has reneged. He has called for a new elections to be umpired by those ‘who fear God’. This is a call to violence. He has promoted officers from his ethnic tribe and has sent his family out of the country. He is hunkering down and expecting the worst.
All right thinking people have called on him to respect the wishes of the people including the United Nations and, like all African despots, he would not listen. The question is why are Africans this thick headed. All over Europe and recently in America the people are toppling establishments and the leaders all have respected the wishes of the people.
What we are seeing in Europe and America is a tyranny of the majority. A senseless push toward ethnic nationalism and a full rejection of globalization as a bulwark against terrorism. But do you see the leaders although pained, fight back. Just last week, the Italian Prime Minister resigned becuase he lost out in a referendum.
As this episode in The Gambia unfolds, we await the usual tensions, ethnic bigotry and all things Africa avail themselves in their macabre donated dance for the rest of the world to see and laugh at us once again.