Samsudeen Sarr

(JollofNews)- It is now final that His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor Alhagie Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh Babillimansa has decided to step down as president of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia after a special ECOWAS mediation team comprised of the heads of state of Guinea Conakry President Alpha Conde and that of Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz met him in Banjul today, January 20, 2016 to discuss the political impasse of the country. Among the team also is the special UN representative for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambers.

It is refreshing to know that despite his strong contention and that of his party supporters to challenge the national election results of December 1st 2016, he has in the end, weighing the potentiality of an unnecessary armed conflict in the country, placed the safety of the nation and the Gambian people over the importance or interest of standing his ground for victory.

I am therefore commending him for his courage and determination to step down and allow the Gambian people to start a new political chapter, transitioned in peace and security. I wish to pray for him and his entire family that their life after his presidency will be peaceful, prosperous and generous to them and to everybody who had stood beside him especially in these trying times.

I am however hoping that this is not going to be the end of the APRC party as a political force in the new Gambia led by His Excellency Adama Barrow, where I hope the party will be kept alive and vibrant into future generations.
My support for President Jammeh was unconditional and has of course over the year and eight months I represented his government as a diplomat at the United Nations created me some enemies particularly among folks in opposition to his government. I believe political dissention or loyalty is part of a healthy democratic process that every person should enjoy as an entitlement.

And now that the situation has changed, I expect to be treated as a Gambian who is still entitled to continue enjoying the same rights in the newly established democracy, where I can freely express my opinion. Any restriction of my entitlement to that freedom will contradict the spirit and values envisaged for a better Gambia.

Hence, with this new government, I may sooner or later return to the Gambia and most likely work as a private citizen; and if necessary, contribute my quota, however small, in the political, educational, security or social development of the country.

Yet, I will also seize this moment to apologize to everybody offended in one way or the other by my political views, activities and position while in defense of President Jammeh and the APRC party. I am just a true believer but also an ordinary human being capable of committing mistakes; nonetheless, I hope my apology will be accepted wholeheartedly and not viewed as a sign of weakness or guilt.
After all, it will be absurd for anyone to think that this is the last time I will be heard sharing my political views over global or Gambian issues.

In fact, for continuation, I must say that I am already suspicious of the overzealous part played by the government of Senegal towards the kind of democracy they want us to have in the Gambia. They indeed played a tremendous role in exerting the pressure that helped in changing the dynamics that I am afraid may harbor hidden intentions.

However, now that President Jammeh is gone, I stand to unconditionally recognize and support the leadership and government His Excellency President Adama Barrow and have from this day on shifted my loyalty to him as my president for the remaining period of my contract as a diplomat at the UN that expires in May 2017.

As the president and new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed and Security forces of the Gambia, I wish His Excellency President Adama Barrow, his family members, members of his government and the entire Gambian people a successful and very prosperous tenure in office.

May the Almighty Allah bless the Gambia and her peaceful people.

The author is the Gambia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations. He was a former Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the Gambia National Army.