The Information Minister for Gambia has defected from the regime of the dictator Yahya Jammeh. Sheriff Bojang arrived in Dakar last week and is now on the run. Bojang has not issued any formal statement about his defection though he has spoken out. He fled Gambia without warning. Bojang’s position as Ministry of Information is now vacant. On Monday, Bojang said he left his post in the first high-profile cabinet defection in Gambia since President Yahya Jammeh refused to accept the outcome of the December elections.
Adam Barrow, the opposition’s leader, won the election by an extremely narrow margin. The elections sparked celebrations across the nation. Jammeh did initially concede the defeat, but changed his mind a week later. He then announced that he would be challenging the results, reports EWN.com.
The UN Security Council has repeatedly called for President Jammeh to step down. Bojang sent a statement to Reuters that read, “An attempt to subvert the express will of the Gambian electorate.” Bojang also urged others to join him. “The Gambia has decided and we must accept and respect this decision,” Bojang added.
Bojang made headlines back in October when he announced that Gambia intended to leave the International Caucasian Court. Opponents of Jammeh hope that Bojang’s departure with spark a series of departures among Gambia’s allies, reports Freedom Newspaper.
Neneh Macdouall Gaye, Gambia’s Foreign Minister, resigned from her position back in December, but her departure attracted very little attention.
Bojang is a journalist and the owner of the Standard Newspaper, based in Banjul, Gambia. He was later appointed to the position of Minister of Information.
Bojang was a loyal supporter and enabler of Africa’s worst dictator while he was the minister. Bojang often made TV appearances to read messages from his government. He was more often than not Gambia’s public spokesperson.
A source told Reuters that Bojang stated that he had no intention of returning to Gambia as long as dictator Yahya Jammeh remained in power. It is expected that Bojang will issue a formal statement soon about his defection from Jammeh’s regime. He has not responded to Freedom Newspapers requests for a statement.
Many businessmen and government officials have fled Gambia because they feared a crackdown by the former lieutenant who seized power in a coup in 1994 at the age of 29. The former lieutenant has been repeatedly accused of jailing and killing his critics.
By Tammy Marie Rose
Photo Courtesy White House