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Gambia’s Jammeh unapologetic in leaked audio

Gambia's former president Yahya Jammeh
Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh

An audio taking Gambian social media circles by storm is shedding the first insights into the state of mind of former President Yahya Jammeh since he fled the country last year.

The audio of a telephone conversation which was apparently not intended for public consumption lasts for almost an hour during which the exiled former leader is heard sounding apologetic and predicting hard times for Gambians as a consequence of voting him out of office.

Jammeh a jumped-up lieutenant in The Gambian military staged a coup in 1994 and went to win four elections before he lost power and triggered a political crisis over the disputed outcome of an election.

He was eventually forced from power by the threat of military intervention from regional bloc Ecowas following his election defeat in December 2016.

During his conversation via Whatsapp, the supplicating voices of two of his staunch allies, Yankuba Colley, a former Kanifing mayor and ex-majority leader in the National Assembly Fabakary Tombong Jatta can be heard massaging his ego and suggesting that his exit has brought foreboding times for Gambians who are missing his leadership.

Jammeh is heard intermittently drifting into Wolof and Mandinka as he speaks about God being in control of all things and swears by Him that all will be well once the dark clouds of misfortune clear over The Gambia.

Jammeh assures his allies that he was “working on something”, an ambiguous statement which has set alarm bells ringing in Banjul, suggesting an unwanted yet possible return to the country of a former leader whose presidency casts a grim shadow on the country’s recent history of deaths, disappearances and torture.

The leaked audio presents his first known insights into the turn of events in The Gambia since he fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017.

The audio comes at a time when his former ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party is at the brink of disintegration, occasioned by a power struggle, a recurrent theme during his conversation with Coley and Jatta who were apparently in The Gambia.

There appears to be a struggle for supremacy within the APRC between Jatta, its interim leader in Jammeh’s absence, and former army major MA Bah who allegedly claimed he had been appointed as head of the party by the exiled former leader.

In the telephone conversation, Jammeh orders the expulsion of Mr Bah and Boo Badgie, another member of the party.

Labeling them liars, Jammeh says he could not work with them.

“They think that I will easily believe in all what they are saying, but I have a big trust and confidence in you (Jatta, and Colley)” he chortles.

Jammeh asks his party stalwarts to be patient and law abiding, predicting that sooner or later The Gambian people will regret voting him out of office.

“What I told you, you must see it. The Gambian people must learn their lessons and then they will understand. I have said it in three meetings during my campaign that Gambians will only know who Jammeh is when I leave office,” he says.

According to him, the difficulties Gambians are undergoing is a punishment that will end only after they have woken up from their perceived slumber.

Meanwhile, Gambians have been wondering who leaked the audio and under what motive.

The Gambia government has not commented.

Source: APA News

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