By Yankuba Jallow
Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, a former Gambian head of state, who ruled the country for 22-years, on Saturday while addressing a GANU/APRC rally in Gunjur, said the 2016 presidential election was rigged.
“They did not win the 2016 elections, they rigged the elections with the support of some powers and countries,” he said.
Jammeh, the Supreme Leader of the APRC, was speaking from Equatorial Guinea, where he sought refuge. He lost to President Adama Barrow in 2016.
Jammeh talked about the purported rigging of the 2016 elections, saying since he left office, the country’s development has been retarded.
He said the current Government has destroyed the work he and former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara carried out in the country.
“What have taken 31 years…. –what Jawara developed, my uncle and 22 years of my job – what I have done for The Gambia, have been destroyed in less than 4 years,” he said.
He enjoined Gambians not to vote for politicians, who promote ethnicity.
“There is no country in the world that is composed of one tribe. If you want to lead the country, you have to lead the country as a citizen and not as a tribalist,” he said.
He said no one ethnic group can elect an individual to be president.
“What I want to assure you is that anybody who wants to lead the country and he is a tribalist, don’t give the country to him because he is going to divide the country. He is not going to see himself as a citizen and he is going to work on tribal sentiment and thereby destroy the country. That will even lead to conflict in the country,” Jammeh said.
He said before his tenure, people used to struggle to pay for tuition fees because education was for the privilege, adding during his time education was accessible to all.
“We had one of the best health care in Africa – all that has been destroyed. The health care system now is zero,” he said.
He said during his reign, women gardeners were earning and wealthier than their husbands.
“I live for The Gambia and Africa, for the truth and I will die for The Gambia and Africa for the truth, dignity and independence,” he said.
He said he made Gambia to be recognised globally, adding previously letters that were addressed to The Gambia were taken to Zambia because the country was not well-known. He added that for 22 years, patriotic citizens worked with him to make Gambia an independent country that the whole world reckoned with.
“There is no body in The Gambia or the world who can list all the development projects that I have implemented in the 22 years that I have been in power. Nobody,” he said.
He added: “My track record in development exceeds by one thousand percent the 400 years of the British colonial rule in The Gambia and the 31 years of my uncle’s rule, his Excellency Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.”
He said he has been telling the people of The Gambia for 22 years that anytime the opposition parties take over the country, they will destroy it citing the current Government as an example.
He said the health care system has deteriorated so much so that pregnant women are afraid to go to hospital because there is 99% likelihood that if they go there [at the hospital], they will not return home alive.
Jammeh said it was during his tenure that Gambian women began owning hotels.
He took time to discuss the security situation of the country, saying it has deteriorated to a point that people are mobbed, robbed and at times killed in broad day light.