Gambia: A very African coup

Recently the Gambian president, as corrupt and brutal as any in Africa for over 20 years now, was overthrown by a foreign invasion and occupation following a tightly contested election.

To review, there was an election in Gambia which was very close, a difference of 20,000 or so and the “opposition,” a Western favorite, declared victory. President Yahyah Jammeh admitted it seemed he had lost but then announced that after further investigation there were serious irregularities that could have changed the outcome. He suspended the election process until he could figure out what took place, something his handpicked Supreme Court upheld.

ECOWAS, a mini version of the African Union, flexed its military muscle and the Senegalese Army backed by the Nigerian Air Force, invaded Gambia and forced President Jammeh to flee the country, evidently with all the cash in the National Bank.

To this day, the Senegalese Army continues to occupy Gambia, with Senegalese commandos providing personal protection for the newly installed president, having been sworn in while residing in Senegal?

If the old president wasn’t such a S.O.B. (until recently “our S.O.B.”) one could feel outraged about what can only be described as “a very African coup,” for where else in the world could one country invade and occupy a neighbor, install the president they support and everyone cheers? Or at least the Western media does, though I have yet to hear anyone remotely uncomfortable about such a major violation of international law and nonintervention principals anywhere in the international arena.

Of course Ethiopia, ruled by a particularly brutal, genocidal even, Western supported regime for longer than President Jammeh regularly steal elections, declare a state of emergency, and yet the African Union goes right on running their dog and pony show from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

In neocolonial Africa it is not the “rule of law” rather the “law of the jungle” where only the strong survive, and what chance does a tiny country like Gambia have against military powers like Senegal and Nigeria. As a result we have Gambia and a very African coup.

Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent Western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006.

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