49. Gambia (1965-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (February 18, 1965-October 26, 1980):  Gambia formally achieved its independence from Britain and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) on February 18, 1965.  A proposal to declare Gambia as a republic failed in a referendum held on November 24, 1965.  Parliamentary elections were held on May 26, 1966, and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) won 24 out of 32 seats in the House of Representatives.  A proposal to declare Gambia as a republic was approved with 70 percent of the vote in a referendum held on April 24, 1970.  Prime Minister Dawda Kairaba Jawara became president on April 24, 1970.  Legislative elections were held on March 28-29, 1972, and the PPP won 28 out of 32 seats in the House of Representatives.  Legislative elections were held on April 4-5, 1977, and the PPP won 27 out of 34 seats in the House of Representatives.  The National Convention Party (NCP) won five seats in the House of Representatives.  President Jawara of the PPP was re-elected on April 5, 1977.  The Socialist and Revolutionary Labour Party (SRLP) was established by Kukoi Samba Sanyang in opposition to the government in 1978.  The Movement for Justice in Africa – Gambia (MOJA-Gambia) was established by Koro Sallah in 1979.

Crisis Phase (October 27, 1980-February 8, 1985): President Jawara suppressed a rebellion on October 27, 1980, during which the deputy commander of the Gambian paramilitary force, Commander Emmanuel Mahoney, was killed.  President Jawara accused Libya of providing assistance to the opposition groups.  President Jawara requested military assistance from Senegal, and some 150 Senegalese troops were deployed in the country from October 31 to November 7, 1980.  President Jawara banned two opposition groups, MOJA-Gambia and the Gambia Socialist Revolutionary Party (GSRP) headed by Pingon Georges, for their involvement in the rebellion on November 1, 1980.  The SRLP led a rebellion by members of the Gambian paramilitary force against the government beginning on July 29, 1981.  The Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) headed by Kukoi Samba Sanyang took control of the government on July 30, 1981.  President Jawara, who was in London at the time of the rebellion, requested the military intervention of Senagalese troops on July 30, 1981.  Some 2,700 Senegalese troops intervened in support of President Jawara beginning on August 1, 1981.  President Jawara declared a state-of-emergency on August 2, 1981.  Government troops and Senegalese troops suppressed the rebellion on August 6, 1981.  Some 800 individuals, including nine Senegalese soldiers, were killed during the rebellion.  President Jafar Muhhamad Numayri of Sudan expressed support for President Jawara on August 6, 1981.  Seven individuals were sentenced to death for their involvement in the rebellion on December 17, 1981, and six individuals were sentenced to death for their involvement in the rebellion on February 4, 1982 (all of the death sentences were later commuted to prison terms). Senegal and Gambia merged in the Confederation of Senegambia on February 1, 1982.   President Jawara of the PPP was re-elected with 72 percent of the vote on May 4-5, 1982.  Legislative elections were held on May 4-5, 1982, and the PPP won 27 out of 35 seats in the House of Representatives.  The NCP won three seats in the House of Representatives.  President Jawara lifted the state-of-emergency on February 8, 1985.  Some 1,000 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 9, 1985-July 22, 1994):  Legislative elections were held on March 11, 1987, and the PPP won 31 out of 36 seats in the House of Representatives.  The NCP won five seats in the House of Representatives.  President Jawara of the PPP was re-elected with 59 percent of the vote on March 11, 1987. The Confederation of Senegambia was dissolved on September 30, 1989.  Legislative elections were held on April 29, 1992, and the PPP won 25 out of 50 seats in the House of Representatives.  The NCP won six seats in the House of Representatives.  President Jawara of the PPP was re-elected with 59 percent of the vote on April 29, 1992.

Crisis Phase (July 23, 1994-present):  President Jawara was deposed in a military coup led by Lt. Yahya Jammeh on July 23, 1994. Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku of the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) condemned the military coup on July 23, 1994. The European Union (EU) and the British government imposed economic and military sanctions (suspension of economic and military assistance) against the Gambian government on October 12, 1994. The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government on October 28, 1994. Lt. Jammeh, chairman of the five-member Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), suppressed a rebellion against the government on January 27, 1995.  The Japanese government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the Gambian government on March 10, 1995. A new constitution was approved by some 70 percent of the voters in a referendum on August 8, 1996, and the ban on opposition political parties was partially lifted on August 14, 1996 (the main political parties prior to the 1994 coup were banned from participating in the election). Yahya Jammeh of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) was elected president with 56 percent of the vote on September 26, 1996. The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent observers to monitor the elections. The European Union (EU) reported that the presidential election had not been fair and free. Three individuals were killed in election-related violence.  President Yahya Jammeh dissolved the AFPRC in October 1996.  Legislative elections were held on January 2, 1997, and the APRC won 33 out of 45 seats in the National Assembly. The United Democratic Party (UDP) won 7 seats in the National Assembly. On October 28, 1998, the Supreme Court in Gambia sentenced three military officers to death for their role in a plot to overthrow the government in July 1997.  Government police fired on student demonstrators in Banjul on April 10, 2000, resulting in the deaths of 12 individuals.  On January 15, 2000, government security forces suppressed a plot by two military officers to overthrow the government, resulting in the death of one of the two military officers.  Government security forces clashed with student demonstrators in Banjul on April 10, 2000, resulting in the deaths of 14 demonstrators.  The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemned the government of Gambia on April 12, 2000.  Supporters of the UDP clashed with supporters of the APRC in the town of Basse on June 17, 2000, resulting in the death of a supporter of the APRC.  On July 15, 2000, the government charged nine individuals, including military officers and businessmen, were charged with treason for plotting to overthrow the government in June 2000.  President Yahya Jammeh lifted the ban on political parties on July 23, 2001.  President Jammeh was re-elected with 53 percent of the vote on October 18, 2001. Two individuals were killed in election-related violence.  Opposition political parties claimed election fraud. The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent twelve observers headed by P. A. Sangma of India to monitor the presidential election from October 3 to October 19, 2001. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent four observers to monitor the presidential election.  The British government sent four observers to monitor the presidential election. Government police arrested 13 members of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) on October 22, 2001.  Legislative elections were held on January 17, 2002, and the APRC won 45 out of 48 seats in the National Assembly. The People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) won 3 seats in the National Assembly. The UDP headed by Ousainou Darboe boycotted the legislative elections.  The U.S. government lifted economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the Gambian government in April 2002.  Local elections were held on April 25, 2002. The UDP and Democratic Organization of the People for Independence (DOPI) boycotted the local elections. Oussainou Darboe, leader of the UDP, and three other individuals were arrested by government police on November 22-23, 2002.  One of the individuals arrested, Yaya Jallow, was released from police custody on November 29, 2002.  Legislative by-elections were held on September 29, 2005.  The International Foundation of Election Systems (IFES) sent two observers from Nigeria to monitor the legislative by-elections from September 24 to September 30, 2005.  On March 28, 2006, some 27 former military officers and government officials were arrested for plotting to overthrow the government.  ECOWAS sent a fact-finding mission consisting of three personnel headed by Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie of Sierra Leone for five days in July-August 2006.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent an election assessment mission to the Gambia from August 17 to August 24, 2006.  President Yahya Jammeh of the APRC was re-elected with 67 percent of the vote on September 22, 2006.  Opposition presidential candidate, Ousainou Darboe, claimed election fraud.  ECOWAS sent 40 observers headed by Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie of Sierra Leone to monitor the presidential election.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent ten election observers and five staff headed by Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania to monitor the presidential election from September 1 to September 29, 2006.  On April 20, 2007, ten former military officers were sentenced to prison terms for plotting to overthrown the government in March 2006.  On August 10, 2007, three individuals were sentenced to prison terms for plotting to overthrown the government in March 2006.  Legislative elections were held on January 25, 2007, and the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) won 42 out of 53 seats in the National Assembly.  The United Democratic Party (UDP) won four seats in the National Assembly.  Halifa Sallah, leader of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) was charged with spying, sedition, and holding an illegal assembly on March 12, 2009.  On June 18, 2010, government prosecutors charged Sarjo Fofona, former head of the Gambian navy, and General Langtombong Tamba, former army chief-of-staff, with plotting to overthrow the government.  On July 15, 2010, a Gambian court found eight individuals, including General Langtombong Tamba, guilty of treason and sentenced the individuals to death.  President Yahya Jammeh was re-elected with 72 percent of the vote on November 24, 2011.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent five observers and four staff members led by Professor Bolaji Akinyemi of Nigeria to monitor the presidential election from November 18 to November 29, 2011.  The African Union (AU) sent observers from seven countries led by Dr. Fonkam Samuel Azu’u of Cameroon to monitor the presidential election.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent observers to monitor the presidential election.  On January 17, 2012, Amadou Scatred Janneh, former Minister of Communications, was sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting to overthrow the government.  Legislative elections were held on March 29, 2012, and the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) won 43 out of 48 seats in the National Assembly.  Six opposition political parties, including the United Democratic Party (UDP), boycotted the legislative elections.  The African Union (AU) sent 22 observers from 15 countries led by Dr. Fonkam Samuel Azu’u of Cameroon to monitor the legislative elections from March 22 to April 4, 2012.  Nine prisoners were executed by firing squad by the Gambian government on August 26, 2012.  The European Union (EU) condemned the government of Gambia for the executions on August 26, 2012.  The 35-member National Transitional Council of Gambia (NTCG) was established as a government-in-exile by Sheikh Sidia Bayo in Dakar, Senegal on September 14, 2012.  President Yahya Jammeh suspended executions in Gambia on September 15, 2012.  Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) on October 2, 2013.

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