Tue, 09 Nov 2010 09:16:44 +0000
Remind you of anyone we know? LOL
DAKAR, Senegal – Gambia’s president once claimed to have developed a cure for AIDS that involved an herbal body rub and bananas. His administration rounded up nearly 1,000 people last year in a witch hunt. And now he may soon have a new title in this tiny West African nation: His majesty.
Tribal chieftains are touring the country to rally support for President Yahya Jammeh’s coronation.
“The president has brought development to the country, and for that he deserves to be crowned King of The Gambia,” said Junkung Camara, chief of the western region of Foni Brefet. “This is the only way the Gambian people can express our gratitude to a leader who has done a lot for his country.”
Like many rulers in this part of Africa, Jammeh, 45, came to power in the wake of a coup. He was elected president two years later, and is currently serving his third elected term in the tiny country surrounded on three sides by Senegal.
If he were crowned king, he could dispense with the formality of elections altogether.
For a ruler who likes to be called His Excellency the President Sheik Professor Alhaji Doctor Yahya Jammeh — identifying himself as a doctor, scholar, and elder, among other honorifics — “king” would suit him well.
“It’s image construction,” said Abdoulaye Saine, professor of political science at Miami University in Ohio who specializes in Gambian politics. “He’s not a scholar, he’s not a doctor, he’s not a professor. But he covets these titles.”
Saine says Jammeh’s coronation would give him a new title but would not change anything politically. “Jammeh is already king,” Saine said. “He practically owns the country of Gambia. He controls the press, the opposition, the clergy, and the coffers of the state.”