After a 22-year rule, Gambia’s longtime leader, Yahya Jammeh has finally agreed to step down from power after refusing to accept defeat during last year’s election.
West African armies invaded the country to remove the recalcitrant leader who refused to concede an election defeat to President Adama Barrow.
However, in a statement made in the face of pressure, Jammeh succumbed to the pressure from concerned West African countries.
“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” he said on state television.
Clad in a white robe and looking tired, Jammeh is due to leave Banjul early this afternoon. In addition, he will be going into exile in Guinea Conakry.
The official statement followed hours of talks between Yahya Jammeh and West African mediators. Without giving any details of what deal he might have struck, the disgraced president decided to step aside to avoid bloodshed .
“not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed,” he said.
In December’s election, Jammeh lost to his opponent, Barrow and initially conceded defeat. Nonetheless, he later had a change of mind and declared the vote unfair.
Mr. Barrow who has been in neighbouring Senegal for days was inaugurated as president in the Gambian embassy there on Thursday.
Subsequently, troops from several West African nations, including Senegal were deployed in The Gambia. Their mission was to drive former ppresident Jammeh out of office if he did not agree to go.
Apparently, there won’t be any need for violence now since he has taken a decision to step aside thus, bringing an end to a reign that began in 1994 when he seized power in a coup.
His government was notorious for torturing and killing perceived opponents to ensure he has no rivalry.