No one thought that the political earthquake that will shock the world after Trump victory and Brexit would be the ouster of one of the world’s most brutal dictator, not by arms, but by dropping a marble into a ballot box.
The West African nation of The Gambia made precedents in common law in 1981, championed human rights in Africa before becoming its worst abuser and now for the first time in world history a tyrannical ruler has been defeated in polls and conceded defeat.
“I never in my dreams believed he would concede. It almost feels too good to be true,” said Ramzia Diab. Gambians will all tell you the same. With a Jammeh loss, they were expecting a bloodbath, after Jammeh warned that demonstrations will not be allowed after results were announced.
Jammeh was expecting a victory and he is as shocked at his defeat as the world is right now. Not even his supporters can protest the results.
“We are free. We won’t be slaves of anyone,” the people exclaimed as they bring down billboards and gigantic photos of him plastered across the country. It was like seeing the statue of Saddam Hussein being taken down, literarily.
The deleting of the name of President Yahya Jammeh from the list of longest serving African rulers will be felt beyond the borders of The Gambia. What does this mean for other longtime rulers like Angola’s Dos Santos and Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang?
Jeffrey Smith of Vanguard Africa, who has been working with Gambian activists and opposition said if Jammeh can be defeated at the ballot box, then anyone can.