On the 19th January 2017 the presidential term of Yahya Jammeh should end after his electoral defeat that he officially recognized before changing his mind a few days later. The man who took power by force 23 years ago persists in his refusal to hand it over to his rival Adama Barrow, the winner of the elections, and currently in “exile” in Senegal. Jammeh certainly counts on his army and especially on the new Generals that he has just made in the rush … He may also be counting on his “magic” powers.
Adama Barrow now has the support of the international community including the African Union, the UN and a significant number of Western partners.
ECOWAS is determined to make the Jammeh case a historic precedent that would give a strong signal to Africa that nothing will be the same in the region going forward. ECOWAS is supported by the African Union in its hard line: “Yahya must leave power or be driven out by force.”
All the indicators are showing that the prior dialogue initiated by ECOWAS is unlikely to succeed before 19th January 2017 when Jammeh will have no constitutional legitimacy.
Morroco is now trying hardly to persuade Jammeh and his family to leave Banjul as soon as possible. A special mission sent by King Mohamed VI is currently in Banjul.
I am sharing possible scenarios for the next few days:
Scenario 1: Yahya Jammeh persists… On 19th January, Yahya Jammeh remains on power in the Gambia and prevents the swearing in of Adama Barrow to happen, defying ECOWAS. Either he relies on the army to remain in power, or the army re-seizes the power, taking the power vacuum as an excuse and re-entrusts it to its leader, Yahya Jammeh. The killings and forced disappearance continue in the army and within the political class, the media, human rights defenders and even among the civilian population.
ECOWAS intervenes militarily with the green light of the UN Security Council (this is not guaranteed in view of the current political and ideological tension between permanent members of the Council) and the political support of the African Union. Because of the lack of sophisticated equipment and other means such as intelligence, intervention takes time to materialize. There is a big loss of human life on both sides, and there is division and retaliation in the armed forces, within civilian populations as well as in the political class. In his wickedness Jammeh orders the execution/killing of those who do not support him and creates chaos… this is the biggest risk of an military intervention.
Yahya Jammeh manages to escape or is arrested to be tried. Despite his resistance the Gambian army ended up capitulating. Adama Barrow takes power but there is a lot of death. A bitter victory…
Scenario 2: The Gambian army drops Jammeh: Like some of the members of Jammeh’s government, the Gambian army drops Jammeh close to the deadline and pledges allegiance to Adama Barrow. There is less damage … This is my most preferred scenario… A coup d’etat against Jammeh is not to be excluded either.
Scenario 3: Adama Barrow swears in at Gambian Embassy outside the country: In this case, he becomes the legitimate Head of State and has the power to solicit the military intervention of ECOWAS without going through the UN Security Council … then we have some of the outcomes of Scenario 1…
Scenario 4: Yahya Jammeh leaves the country by the 19th January for a known or unknown destination…Adama Barrow, supported by ECOWAS, is inaugurated in Gambia and takes office. There is still a serious risk of revenge and witch-hunting among the population and the army. In this case Barrow has the responsibility to strongly call for unity and threaten to prosecute those who will be guilty of attacks on their fellow citizens. A big step is marked towards democracy. ECOWAS takes more authority and legitimacy. People are looking for Jammeh to prosecute him…
Which scenario is most likely to happen? … Share your opinion with me on the blog.