Fatoumata Tambajang had warned us, we failed to listen

Fatoumata Tambajang had warned us, we failed to listen

When Fatoumata Tambajang said President Yahya Jammeh cannot be allowed to leave The Gambia and must be prosecuted, some of blamed her for making such an “erratic” statement that resulted to Jammeh refusing to hand over power. But Mrs. Tambajang’s warning that Jammeh may become a rebel leader is fast becoming a reality.

A former military commander to Liberia’s jailed President Charles Taylor said President Yahya Jammeh is actively recruiting mercenaries from across West Africa around the porous border towns of San Pedro, Grabo, Tai, and Toulepelu between Ivory Coast and Liberia to help him thwart international efforts to enforce the outcome of the polls.

“We don’t trust him. The longer we leave him, the more possibilities he has to leave the country, to escape from the country and to even do an insurgency. He is capable. The man is capable,” said Tambajang. “In Kanilai, he has bunkers. I have reliable sources that [say that] he has bunkers. I have been reliably informed that he has treasure in Kanilai, he’s sitting on treasure, on gold as they say.”

She was right. Yahya Jammeh has been left for too long to play political gimmicks and using delay tactics while recruiting rebels. The longer he is left there, the more he gathers national resources to his coffers to fund his offensive.

There’s between 300 to 400 rebels who have signed up for a fee ranging between $100 to $300 a day, said a senior Ivorian intelligence officer. Ivorian officials were working out how to stop them.

President Yahya Jammeh has support former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo when he lost elections and accused Alassane Ouattara of being a rebel helped by the international community.

“The current situation of our country is worrisome. Each day that passes by, streets becoming more deserted and lonelier, businesses and markets seem to be at a stand still as we approach the inauguration date of President-elect Adama Barrow,” said Ebrima Sonko, who works with the Peace Ambassadors.

Although President Yahya Jammeh said they would no inauguration for Barrow, who won the December 1 polls until the Supreme Court rules on a petition he has filed challenging the results, Barrow has threatened to swear himself and declare Jammeh a rebel.

However it goes, if Jammeh does not step down when his term expires on January 18, he will wake to ECOWAS forces militarily flushing him and his rebel forces out.

For a small country like the Gambia, it is disturbing to know that the country is on the brink of civil war and Jammeh is not listening to calls for him to translate his speeches of loving Gambian women and children into reality by maintaining the peace and handing over.

If action has been taken as quickly as Fatoumata Tambajang had warned, it would have been easier to neutralize Jammeh. The opposition leaders are playing statesmen and Jammeh is preparing for an all-out war. He would go down, but he wants to make sure he does not go down alone.

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