Gambian President and Ex-Dictator Form Coalition Ahead of Polls
(Bloomberg) -- Gambian President Adama Barrow and former dictator Yahya Jammeh are joining forces ahead of Dec. 4 elections in a political marriage that will test the incumbent’s commitment to seek justice for alleged victims of his predecessor.
Barrow’s National People’s Party and Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction will work together to “achieve their goals” at December’s presidential polls, according to statements by both parties.
Jammeh, who ruled the West African nation for 22 years, was forced to resign after losing a 2016 vote to Barrow, who is now expected to run for reelection despite an earlier agreement to step down after three years. Barrow launched the NPP in January, having won the last election as an independent candidate.
The $1-billion economy, which depends on tourism for nearly a third of its gross domestic product, has never seen a smooth transfer of power.
“The now formidable alliance of several parties will undoubtedly usher in an emphatic election victory and a new dawn of a Gambia for all Gambians,” Barrow’s NPP said in a statement Sunday. “The NPP represents and embraces peace, hope, tolerance, development and the rule of law as opposed to fear-mongering, intimidation and divisive politics.”
Jammeh seized control in a 1994 coup and isolated his regime by pledging to kill homosexuals, silencing dissent and withdrawing from the Commonwealth. A commission created by Barrow recommended in 2019 that the former leader, who claimed to be able to cure AIDS and infertility, face embezzlement charges.
After initially acknowledging that Barrow won a late-2016 election, Jammeh refused to leave office until West African leaders decided to send Senegalese soldiers and Nigerian fighter jets to the capital.
“The fight against impunity for crimes committed during 22 years will suffer if we let this happen,” Fatou Jagne Senghor, West Africa Director for London-based rights group Article 19 said in a Sept. 4 tweet.
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