Gambia’s Vice President and one of President Yahya Jammeh’s longest serving official resigned from the government just a few hours before the longtime authoritarian ruler’s mandate expires.
Njie-Saidy has been vice president and head of the National Security Council of the West African nation since March 20, 1997, just few months after Jammeh won elections.
Two years after the 1994 Gambian coup d’état in which Yahya Jammeh seized power, in July 1996 Njie-Saidy was appointed as Minister of Health, Social Welfare and Women’s Affairs.
The long-serving supporter of the dictator, she was implicated in the shooting of at least 14 students in April 2000 and defended the execution of nine death row inmates, which sparked an international outcry in 2012.
Relations between Jammeh and Njie-Saidy were strained in 2015. The African strongman blamed his vice president for contributing his government’s failure but never fired her.
More than half a dozen other ministers in President Yahya Jammeh’s cabinet resigned after he lost elections to opposition politician Adama Barrow last month. He is refusing to cede power and now faced with strong local resistance to hand over power peacefully or face a regional military force to bend him to do so.