Former President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh who ruled the country for two decades with authoritative force and immorality is now living in exile in Equatorial Guinea. He left the country after he was pressured to resign when he lost the 2016 presidential elections. He fought the results and wouldn’t concede until international states threatened to intervene. His time in government saw the oppression of the opposition, dissidents, journalists and more. Furthermore, he used his own people as guinea pigs for his scientific inventions of various types of cures. According to the BBC article, The President who made people take his bogus HIV cure, Jammeh announced that he invented his own cure for the HIV virus using herbal medicine and spiritual healing techniques. Such bogus claims were denounced as fake by health professionals around the world.
However, in Gambia, calling the president for his nonsense is a potential ticket to jail or death. This article highlights how thousands were forced to try his hoax treatments. During the six-month treatment which only worked Thursdays and Mondays, individuals were not allowed to smoke, drink coffee and tea, or have sex.
But more importantly, they were taking off their anti-retroviral drugs given to them by their regular doctors. This led many patients to die or acquire other diseases such as tuberculosis. President Jammeh brutal governing did not allow anyone to criticize his medicine. He forced patients to appear on state television to talk about the success of his program. The Patients would be guaranteeing the success of the program while in reality, they are so weak and unable to walk and function properly. This bogus treatment was carried out as the world looked on and no one did anything. For Jammeh, those who scrutinized him were not welcomed in the country.
According to the BBC article, “some 9000 people are believed to have treated…”. Yet, this is not an exact number as Jammeh kept all the records secret and health officials are unable to establish the exact number of deaths. Today, patients are working with Aids-Free World, a US campaign group to press charges against the former president.
This disgraceful experiment done by a president of a country is terrible, but the western world has become accustomed to the amount of corruption among the African countries. Many of the leaders who are in place rose out of being revolutionary heroes, those who helped their country achieve its independence. On the other hand, most of these leaders are unqualified of ruling a country through democratic policies and rule of law. As we discussed in class, the history of violence will become a tool to those who are born out of violence. The resistance movements lead to the dominance of a single party. We see such dominance in other African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe. For these countries to ever see true democracy, it will require time, strong leadership, critical infrastructure, and accumulative vision for a fair and equal society.
Democracies are not born overnight, but through trial and error, until the people are accustomed to the traditions of respecting the law. Jammeh is a great example of a leader post-colonial period in whom was incompetent of running a country and decided to abuse his power. The current new president of Gambia, Adama Barrow, is trying to submit an extradition with the president of Equatorial Guinea. Moreover, Borrow set up a commission to examine state crimes during Jammeh’s 22-year tenure. However, it is not expected for any charges to be pressed.
Furthermore, the African Union stated that he should be free to return to the country in the future. If anything, Jammeh’s time in power should