President Yahya Jammeh became paranoid and feared that he would be prosecuted or be killed after relinquishing power. Similar thoughts have made leaders like Jammeh take a by all means necessary measure to remain in power.
The canceling of a meeting between Jammeh and President-elect Adama Barrow, followed by the strong warning from a coalition leader, Fatoumata Tambajang that Jammeh will be prosecuted three months to a year after the new administration takes office have no doubt heightened Jammeh’s fear of being prosecuted.
Senior members of the coalition do not trust him and it appears Mr. Jammeh does not trust them either causing the political u-turn the longtime Gambian ruler took, probably as a safe exit strategy to negotiate a safe sanctuary in another nation.
It may not be the wisest and Jammeh may not be thinking of exiting anymore due to fear of international pressure to have him extradited to Banjul. He may well be planning to hold on to power, even if he will face the wrath of the international community. We have seen it in Burundi.
Since his defeat in elections, Jammeh looked pale and lost his sudden confidence and bravado. He seems isolated and a loner. It was obvious he had no control and he was thinking of what his fate would be. His trusted security chiefs have already pledged allegiance to President-elect Adama Barrow, leaving Jammeh dejected and compelled to take the bold decision to concede defeat.
In the State House, Jammeh is like a prisoner: isolating himself from everyone and everything and putting himself incommunicado. He has confined and restricted himself with only a few having access to him.
In his speech claiming irregularities and low voter turnout, Jammeh was trying to sound like an unkempt person trying to reimage himself as a peace-loving leader who wants to reconcile with everyone and head for new polls. He was not threatening to send his loyalists out, he was instead fearful of even the backlash from the international community.
Rightly so, his rejection of the results was nullified by the international community. If his exit strategy fails, Jammeh risk being a Gbango or be may be Compaored by the people.
As of now, Jammeh is only holding on to hope to receive immunity, which Tambajang said he would not have; be given a safe heaven in a different country or do anything necessary not to be killed or be imprisoned. For Jammeh, for now it is him before the country.