The Gambia, a test for AU

Gambia election and the aftermath serves us so many lessons but what is more crucial is about the inability of the African Union in handling Africans affairs unless someone else (think of European Union) intervenes. This is what one may term as dealing with the consequences instead of dealing with the cause.
The Gambia's president-elect Adama Barrow (right) and defeated incumbent Yahya Jammeh, whose mandate officially ends today. / Internet photos
The Gambia's president-elect Adama Barrow (right) and defeated incumbent Yahya Jammeh, whose mandate officially ends today. / Internet photos

Editor,

RE: “Between Jammeh and Barrow who is crazy?” (The New Times, January 16).

Gambia election and the aftermath serves us so many lessons but what is more crucial is about the inability of the African Union in handling Africans affairs unless someone else (think of European Union) intervenes. This is what one may term as dealing with the consequences instead of dealing with the cause.

As the situation stands now, if force is used against Jammeh, there is a possibility of losing lives of innocent people and creating a massive refugee crisis. AU will be dealing with refugee crisis instead of dealing with Jammeh.

Looking at how this has been handled by AU in recent conflicts in Africa, the organisation is more of conferences than serious businesses. Regional blocks work better than the AU; however, it should be the other way round.

Yulian

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The fundamental question remains: Can someone please explain to me why, if the post-Gambian election standoff is because Jammeh is a dictator who, like all his ilk, cannot contemplate life out of power, he initially conceded, congratulated Barrow for his election victory?

Isn’t the response as to the real cause of this crisis to be found in the actions and the unconsidered declarations of various Gambian actors and their supporters and sponsors during the critical period between that concession and Jammeh’s volte-face?

And, please, don’t give me the facile cop-out (as Mr. Rugira terms it) that the only explanation is that Jammeh is an erratic dictator and is thus acting in character, for how then would you account for that initial graceful concession; what spooked him into reversing himself?

For, if those who are taking Barrow’s side uncritically without taking into account his people’s ham-fisted post-election declarations and signals about his future administration’s course including on Jammeh and his supporters, then there is no possibility ofa peaceful path out of this crisis, if any can be found in any case.

An honest accounting for how the Gambia got into this crisis and how the various actors contributed to the impasse is what is needed, not sloganeering about Jammeh the mad dictator.

Ignoring Barrow and his people’s unthinking post-election declarations an undeserved pass in how the situation unraveled would, in my view, be the real cop-out. They won the election and then proceeded to lose the transition in an extremely stupid fashion. Talk about parrot (i.e. rote, unreflecting) democracy!

Mwene Kalinda

 

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