By Lamin Cham
Abdou Sarah Janha, the last secretary general and head of civil service of the Jawara/PPP administration has warned that The Gambia is not out of the woods as the structures and loyalties former president Jammeh relied upon are still intact.
Commenting on his Facebook page dedicated to addressing Gambian matters, Mr Janha argued: “Jammeh used violence, manipulation of the law and intimidation to keep down dissident groups and bestow rich rewards on some in his support base. Yet even after he became powerless, a sizable number of his social support base remained loyal to him. To the dismay of many observers, the government allowed Jammeh’s political party to continue to operate. The leadership of this support group has not shown any remorse for past actions which led to many atrocities well-documented thanks to the TRRC.
“They have instead become louder and more confident, savouring the role of kingmakers in the December  presidential election. The group has become an integral part of the government in control of the National Assembly, holding important ministerial and security positions.
“I do not know how far and how deeply the army has changed in the context of the security sector reform (SSR), which is donor-funded. Experience over time shows that many of these programmes ended up being ‘train and equip’ programmes and other essential issues like human security and good governance, et cetera, sidelined. The SSR programmes are hardly based on local needs,” Mr Janha lamented.
He said the APRC could ask for Jammeh’s return and his safety and security guaranteed and the ruling NPP government could be tempted to agree to such a request as a price worth paying to keep its political alliance with the APRC.
”Once that door is opened, what follows is left to anyone’s imagination. The scenario I painted is not far-fetched, and we should not be under the illusion that the international community would intervene to stop this development.
I do not want to be seen as a prophet of doom, but the political scene in The Gambia is unsettling in many ways. It is therefore, essential for the government to reassure the nation and reiterate its strong commitment to the implementation of the TRRC recommendations without delay and keep the public informed of the state of the implementation process. We should not forget that Yahya Jammeh as one individual, could not have exercised the power he wielded over the Gambian population without the support of specific groups of people.
“In the context of The Gambia, Jammeh’s control over the Gambian people was only possible because he had the support of the army. History has shown that groups that support despots to oppress other groups have to be internally cohesive. The military and Jammeh’s social base have that characteristic. These two groups still exist, strengthened and organised,” Mr Janha said.