As the Gambians celebrate a new dawn in the nation’s politics following Yahya Jammeh’s final exit, Zimbabweans celebrate with the nation while it painfully awaits that fateful day when Robert Mugabe will do the same.
Gambians sighed in relief as the country’s new President, Mr. Adama Barrow announced that the country’s veteran leader, Mr. Yahya Jammeh has finally agreed to cede power and leave the country.
Yahya Jammeh, who initially refused handing power over to the country’s democratically elected president, Adama Barrow, after the December 1 general election.
This triggered weeks of tension as West African leaders threatened to use military force to oust him if he failed to step down. More issues developed as the leaders of Guinea and Mauritania tried to persuade Yahya Jammeh to cede power in the West African nation. Guinean President Alpha Conde arrived in Banjul with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Troops from several West African nations, including Senegal, were also deployed to Gambia, threatening to drive Mr Jammeh out of office if he did not agree to go.
But, in an address on state television, Mr Jammeh, who had once said he would rule The Gambia for a billion years, said he would stand down and that it was “not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed”.
“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians,” he said as he exiled to Mauritania.
Rejoicing with Gambians on the return of democracy, Zimbabweans look forward to that fateful day when their long-serving president, Robert Mugabe would step aside, for a newly democratically elected president.
I like Zimbabweans.The already see a Jammeh situation in 2018.They have no coalition.No Barrow.No resolve.No Unity.Already planning invasion https://t.co/U9aPDwKzZ3
— Raymond Majongwe (@RMajongwe) January 19, 2017
— Evance (@Kajeey_) January 19, 2017
Mugabe has been the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe since 1987 after he governed as its Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987. This makes him the oldest serving President in Africa.
Like in Gambia, Zimbabwe had an opportunity to return democracy to the country during its 2013 general election which was manipulated by the ruling Zanu-PF to ensure Mugabe’s return.
Unlike in Gambia where opponents of Yahya Jammeh worked in unity to fight for democracy, Zimbabweans further allowed political manipulations as Mugabe was allowed to stop the 2013 election result when he noticed he was losing. The country was at that time forced to wait for five weeks for the final result.
By then, the clearly-doctored results gave opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai a margin that wasn’t enough for him to claim outright victory.
Apparently, Mugabe was able to maintain his place as the president not just because Zimbabweans are yet to unanimously fight to root him out, but also because a strong African body like ECOWAS is yet to take a stance on the matter like it did in Gambia.
Another is the argument that Mugabe still had a strong support from its powerful neighbour, South Africa. According to reports, South Africa is still shoring up Mugabe, because the SA government didn’t want to be seen as bullying a neighbour.”
Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe says if he has to retire, he will do so properly but there’s no sign that it will be anytime soon. He clearly noted that he won’t be forced to step down by factions within his party plotting to succeed him.
While Zimbabweans look forward to that day, the next general election in 2018 could be a good chance to a true democracy.