Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow said President Yahya Jammeh is free to live in the West African nation as a private citizen, vowing that his government will protect all Gambians.
“Jammeh is a Gambian like anyone of us. My government will ensure that he lives in this country peacefully as a private citizen. If the former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara can live in this country peacefully, why not Yahya Jammeh,” Barrow said.
President Yahya Jammeh at the start of the new millennium gave amnesty to Mr. Jawara and signed a bill into law establishing the office of the ex-president that gives state security, salary and other benefits to the former head of state.
President-elect Barrow reiterated that Mr. Jammeh will be consulted in the future if his advice is needed.
“The Gambia is bigger than Jammeh and I. Jammeh will continue to stay here as a private citizen. We will consult him in if we need advice in the future,” Mr. Barrow said.
Barrow rebutted any suggestion that his administration will be prosecuting Jammeh and former senior officials of his regime.
“We are not here to settle scores. We do not hate anyone. We are not here to target or witch hunt anyone,” said Mr. Barrow.
Leaders of the coalition that however said they will investigate credible reports of corruption, rights abuses and crimes against the state. President-elect Barrow said that due process will be followed.
“We will investigate what has transpired here in the past. Once the investigative report is out, we will implement it. We will follow due process,” the president-elect said.
Barrow won the country’s presidential polls. The elections have been praised as the victory for democracy after a Trump victory in the United States and Brexit.
Activists are calling for the arrest and prosecution of President Yahya Jammeh, who has been accused of killings, tortures, and enforced disappearances. A senior member of the coalition government said immunity will not be given to Jammeh.
Jammeh conceded defeat after losing the polls. He’s been praised by world leaders for his statesmanship and putting the country on a path to democratic transition.
Jammeh told Barrow he will be retiring to his farm in Kanilai, some six miles from the southern Senegalese region of Casamance.