Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh: The Worst DICTATOR You’ve Never Heard Of

“This is going to be your last breath,” they told Imam Baba Leigh as they threw earth over his bound body. Then they stopped and laughed. It was a mock execution, one of many tortures the Muslim cleric told Amnesty International he endured during his months in captivity.

His crime? Criticizing the president.

Welcome to the Gambia, home to one of the most vicious and bizarre dictatorships in the world. Since taking power in a 1994 coup, President Yahya Jammeh has ruled Africa’s smallest mainland country through fear, force and what we can best describe as creepiness. He prefers that subjects address him by his full name — His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh — and says he can cure AIDS. The 49-year-old also imprisons people for alleged witchcraft and has threatened to decapitate all homosexuals, because they are “anti-God and anti-human.” Oh, and there’s his penchant for firing live rounds into crowds of peaceful demonstrators. Anyone who speaks up against his cruel, outlandish ways risks kidnapping, torture or murder, like Imam Leigh.


In all this, Jammeh has made his country the neighborhood freak. The rest of West Africa has taken big strides toward democracy over the past decade, what with the election of the first female African president in Liberia and Ghana’s status as rule-of-law beacon. Yet the Gambia, 50 years independent, is where human rights go to die. In 2013, it up and left the Commonwealth, a 54-nation grouping of former British colonies, suggesting to diplomats that Jammeh refused to tolerate any international criticism (he’d gotten a spate of it the previous year for resurrecting the firing squad).

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Written by PH

One Comment

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  1. Jammeh is one of the great jokes of Africa.
    Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest, poorest country where many people struggle every single day for basics like food etc, yet this military dictator, who took power by force, lives in absolute luxury and has millions of state money stashed abroad and where he also owns huge properties.
    He is known to have had political prisoners killed, burnt down newspaper offices, closed radio stations and he imprisons (or has killed) anyone who opposes him or talks derogatorily about him.
    I feel sorry for the great people of Gambia, most of whom hate this man Jammeh, and they would probably assassinate him if possible, but they are even too frightened to speak in private about him because of his many spies and his notoriously violent police and personal army guards.
    He is a dictator of the worst kind who is shunned by African leaders and has now become the laughing stock of The African Union and even his Arab cronies in the Middle East.
    None of this is surprising as he is also known to be mentally deranged – he giggles like a little girl in political meetings, and he claims to be able to cure HIV/AIDS, cancer and Malaria with herbs and bananas, and personally goes hunting for witches in the countryside.
    No wonder he is named: “The Monster from Kanilai (his village).”
    Everyone knows that the recent constitutionally illegal move to declare Gambia an Islamic republic was just another of his increasingly desperate attempts to gain attention for himself, but it will do nothing to alleviate the suffering of the struggling Gambian people. Jammeh is arguably the worst possible thing for The Gambia – a country that deserves an honest and open government free from the restraints of his iron fist, his high self regard and his utterly stupid, degenerative policies.
    When he is removed or maybe even killed, he will not be missed.

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