By Mafugi Ceesay
A renown Gambian intellectual, Professor Abdoulie Saine has delivered a moving perspective of the nature of former President Jammeh’s rule as well as the circumstances that led to the rise of his brutal regime.
Addressing the TRRC when it resumed yesterday, Saine said former President Jammeh was able to stay in power that long because, among other means, he used violence and terror.
Saine observed that Jammeh used unlawful arrest and detention to instil fear in the masses, as well as killings and disappearances in addition to hiring and firing. “He also used religious leaders to instil beliefs in the citizenry.
“The execution of the nine inmates at Mile II was a human sacrifice by Yahya Jammeh, and killings of Secretary of State Ousman Koro Ceesay by Edward Singhatey, Alagie Kanyi and Yankuba Touray, shows that he is culpable.”
Reasons behind Jammeh’s coup
Professor Saine also claimed that Jammeh and cohort came from a poor background and hungry for power, monetary gain and social status. “They claimed they were soldiers with a difference who came to clean the corruption and dirty ruling but immediately they came, they turned to be more corrupt and lived in more flamboyant lifestyles than ever imagined under Jawara,” Saine said.
He said another factor for the coup could be the competition between the rival camps of the PPP as to who will succeed Jawara after the former leader announced his intention to step down at the party’s congress in Mansakonko in December 1991. He said following his decision to drop that intention largely after elders and others prevailed on him, most people concluded that it was impossible to remove Jawara through the ballot box.
“The emergence of social classes, low wages and the majority of the citizens living in extreme poverty was also a contributing factor that caused anger that led to the coup de tat,” he said.
Reasons behind overstay
He said Jammeh’s Machiavellian approach was also amalgamated with beliefs of witchcraft, personal grievances and greed for power.
Saine said Jammeh used the constitution to perpetuate himself in power removing term and age limit, and adding Decree 45 that gave him powers to arrest and detain anyone while Decree 70 muzzled the press.
“The November 1994 killing of soldiers was to clean Jammeh’s so-called enemies from the army and to send a message to others,” he concluded.