22nd July: Celebrating Coups and Extolling Democracy – Any Discrepancies?


As celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the military takeover by then Lieutenant Jammeh is underway, I wish to revisit a post I wrote two years ago.

The Global Guide

Image Jammeh and former Libyan leader (Gadhafi)

July 22nd is almost a household name in the Gambia. On that fateful day, eighteen years ago, former President, Dawda Kairaba Jawara was deposed in what has been described as a ‘bloodless coup’. Jawara’s overthrow was masterminded by a group of young soldiers led by then Lieutenant Yahya AJJ Jammeh. The putsches identified themselves as the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and Jammeh, 29 at the time, was the chairman of the AFPRC. The AFPRC then suspended the constitution, sealed the borders and implemented a curfew. While Jammeh’s new government justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, army personnel had also been dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions and prospects for promotion. The coup did not receive much resistance from home but attracted international condemnation. Eighteen (18) years on, 22nd July is annually celebrated…

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