10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gambia’s Outgoing President Yahya Jammeh

By Kevin Mwanza AFKI Original Published: December 6, 2016, 4:11 am
Jammeh declared the Gambia to be an Islamic state in December 2015 Dawn.com

Yahya Jammeh is the outgoing president of The Gambia. He is one of the longest-serving presidents in Africa, since he took power through a military coup in 1994.

Jammeh surprisingly lost to Adama Barrow in Thursday’s presidential poll. He however, shocked the world by conceding defeat, barely a month after he vowed to lead the tiny West African nation for a billion years.

Below are ten things to know about Jammeh.

Sources; Gainako Radio, Freedom Newspaper, The Gambia Journal, Ozystay Interesting, Freedom Newspaper, CNN, PinkNews, BBC

A LGBTi protester in Rainbow hat blows a horn at the Gambian embassy urge the President not to ratify measures that would lead to life imprisonment for being gay. (Photo: mylondondiary.co.uk)

A LGBTi protester in Rainbow hat blows a horn at the Gambian embassy urge the President not to ratify measures that would lead to life imprisonment for being gay. (Photo: mylondondiary.co.uk)

Threats against gays

The outgoing Gambian leader threatened to slit the throats of gay people found in the nation, in 2008. He ordered them to leave the country, saying that Gambia is a country of believers, with zero tolerance on sinful and immoral practices like homosexuality.

Yahya Jammeh prays while administering his alleged herbal HIV cure to a patient (AP)

Yahya Jammeh prays while administering his alleged herbal HIV cure to a patient (AP)

Weird Cures for ailments

Jammeh claimed to cure HIV/AIDS, but only on Mondays and Thursdays. He however, said that he can only cure ten patients only on the two days. He administered a bitter yellow drink and two bananas on the patients. He also said that he can cure asthma, but only between Friday and Saturday.

Jammeh with one of his idol worshipping men (Photo: kaironews.com)

Jammeh with one of his idol worshipping men (Photo: kaironews.com)

Links with black magic

In 2009, Jammeh invited witch doctors to the nation, following the death of his aunt. He believed that witchcraft was involved in her death. The native doctors accompanied security forces seizing people accused of being witch doctors. The campaign led to the arrest of about 1,000 suspects, who were locked up in secret detention centres and forced to drink dangerous concoction that led to bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh  (Photo: TheCitizenNG.com)

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh
(Photo: TheCitizenNG.com)

Close to Football legend El Hadji Diouf

Jammeh is considered to be a close friend to retired Senegalese football legend, El Hadji Diouf. He gave Diouf $25,000 in cash after the retired footballer visited his private residence in April, this year.

Jammeh declared the Gambia to be an Islamic state in December 2015 Dawn.com

Jammeh declared the Gambia to be an Islamic state in December 2015
Dawn.com

Religious Obsession

Jammeh invokes the name of Allah or God at the start of almost all his conversations or speeches. In November, during a campaign rally, he said that Allah had given him leadership and he would rule for a billion years. In the past, he urged Senegal to vote for a God-fearing president.

Gambian farmer drying his maize (Photo: LinkedIn)

Gambian farmer drying his maize (Photo: LinkedIn)

Controversial Order

In August 2013, Jammeh ordered security forces to arrest any youth found playing football during the rainy season. He accused such youths of aspiring to become footballers, while ignoring agriculture in their home provinces. Police officers arrested about 18 youths in the Central River Region province, for defying the directive.

Gambia bans music during Ramada

U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama greet Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of The Gambia, and Zineb Jammeh at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo: Amanda Lucidon, White House photographer

Sour Relations with International Community

In December 2015, Jammeh declared the tiny West African nation, an Islamic republic. He said that the move would help distance The Gambia from its colonial past, under Britain. In 2013, he pulled the nation out of the 54-member Commonwealth, saying that it was a neo-colonial organization.

Yahya Jammeh Gambia, President

Weird preference for names

Jammeh preferred to be addressed by his subjects using his full name, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh.

Women of the Mandinka tribe (Photo: serenity.co.uk)

Women of the Mandinka tribe (Photo: serenity.co.uk)

Calls for Ethnic Cleansing

In June, this year vowed to wipe out the Mandinka tribe from the nation for belittling native Gambians tribes like, Fullas and Wollofs. Jammeh also promised that the Mandinkas, both within and outside the country, would not live to witness the recently concluded presidential poll. “I will kill you like ants and no Western country can do darn thing about it. Who are you to disrespect other tribes?” Jammeh once said at a rally.

President Macky Sall of Senegal (Photo: PCTech)

President Macky Sall of Senegal (Photo: PCTech)

Calls against neighboring President

In November 2015, Jammeh urged Senegalese to vote out President Macky Sall, accusing him of being a Western puppet and leading a non-sovereign nation. He added that Senegal needed a God-fearing leader. Jammeh also openly said he found it difficult to work with the nation’s past leaders, Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade.

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