\n Al Jazeera records the departure of Yahya Jammeh into exile after 22 years in power.
\nBy Mamadou Dem
Banjul — Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh on Saturday 21 January at about twenty minutes to 2am read out a statement on GRTS TV spelling out that he will relinquish power. This was after several hours of discussion with President Alpha Conde of Guinea Conakry and President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
In his farewell address, ex- Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said his decision is dictated by the supreme interest of Gambian people and the country. The full text of the statement reads as follows:
My primary pre-occupation has been to uphold the dignity of our people and integrity of this great nation. As a result of all the numerous sacrifices we and those people before us have made as a nation, The Gambia has affirmed its desire to determine its own future and destiny.
All the actions we have taken towards being in this nation up to this point have distinguished us among the community of nations even as a pride of days in history. All this while, as a Muslim and a patriot, I believe it’s not necessary for a single drop of blood to be shed. Since the beginning of this political impasse our dear nation is going through I have promised to Allah (Subhana waa taala) that all the issues we face will be resolve peacefully.
I am indeed thankful to Allah (Subhana waa taala) up till now not even a single causality has been registered. I believe in the importance of dialogue and in the capacity of Africa to resolve among themselves all the challenges on the way towards democracy, economic and social development. It’s as a result of this, that I’ve decided today in good conscience to relinquish the matter of leadership of this great nation with gratitude to all Gambians, women, men, youth and children and friends of the Gambia who has supported me for 22 years in the building of a modern Gambia.
I put above all and everything the independence of the free and proud people of The Gambia and I will be always together with you defend its independence that we all dearly fought for. My decision today was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interests of you the Gambian people and our dear country putting into consideration, my prayer and desires that peace and security continue to reign in the Gambia.
At the time we are witnessed with trouble and chaos in other parts of Africa and the world, the peace and security of the Gambia, is our collective heritage which we must jealously guard and defend. I am proud and honoured to have served our country The Gambia while thanking all of you both women and children, members of the armed and security services, humble citizens and all those who have supported me and who were against me during this period. I employed them all to put the supreme interest of our nation, the Gambia, above all partisan interest and … . Working together as one nation to continue to preserve the highly cherished achievements of the country, its sovereignty, peace, stability and integrity as well as the economic achievements realised during the years.
I pray that The Gambia our homeland continues to be united and prosperous for the welfare of each and every one of us to be the pride of all. I submit myself only to the judgment of Allah whose judgment is above and beyond man, time and history. The almighty Allah is the only guarantor of truth and justice,” he admitted.
Finally I am truly and sincerely proud to have been of service to you and your noble nation. I wish to thank each and every one of the security forces, members of government, present and past, my party militants and most importantly you the Gambian people and the National Assembly members, past and present, for the confidence vested in me and your loyal support. I pray that Allah continues to light and guide our path and to shower his blessings on our great and developed country. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Maimuna, my wife and children for all their prayers and support throughout the past 22yrs. I thank you all and may Allah continue to bless our motherland.
In a special news bulletin broadcast over the national TV (GRTS) Mr Jammeh told waiting journalists, “It’s now that I know my true friends because since the political impasse, he (Alpha Conde) is not sleeping and I don’t want to keep him coming. So I want to thank them and Allah for my twenty-two years of leadership.”