The #GambiaHasDecided is not only trending among its citizens on social media, billboards are springing up in key cities across the country reading the hashtag with an additional message that its people have chosen democracy.
Musicians who have long disavowed themselves from politics are even making songs about the hashtag.
President Yahya Jammeh who has ruled The Gambia, a small tourist paradise nicknamed the “smiling coast of Africa,” for 22 years lost to businessman Adama Barrow is an election that brought hope to democracy after a Trump win in America.
Barrow, 51, was backed by seven opposition groups and an independent candidate.
Jammeh had first accepted defeated and called Barrow to congratulate him. He shocked the world by conceding and creating a pathway to a peaceful transfer of power. The world praised Jammeh’s statesmanship only for him to rescind his bold decision and dismay the world by rejecting the polls in totality.
Gambians were more surprised at Jammeh’s acceptance of the results than his decision to reverse it. Jammeh is notoriously eccentric and makes rash unilateral decisions.
When he accepted defeat, Gambians suppress their fear and went out to celebrate. Now the people of this peanut exporting country are in fear of seeing a violent end to Jammeh’s violent rule.
Gambia’s military chief who had called President-elect Adama Barrow to pledge his allegiance confused observers by saying he is also loyal to the commander in chief “whoever it may be” and at this time is “loyal to Commander in Chief Jammeh,” whose government pays his salary.
President Yahya Jammeh is seeing unprecedented condemnation from unions and civil society groups. They are all asking for one thing: for Jammeh to step down immediately and allow the peaceful transfer of power.