A Democratic Fallacy

The Gambia’s elections & capitalism’s grip on economic power in Africa

By Timeyin Oritsesan - 18th January 2017

After 22 years in power, President Jammeh was defeated at the end of 2016 by the now, new president-elect Adama Barrow. Although the British press condescendingly refers to him as ‘the former Argos security guard’ (Anyangwe 2016), Barrow is much more than his struggles as a young man, ultimately rising to become the leader of The Gambia’s largest opposition party in the 2016 elections. Now he is the new president. Thus he has become a symbol of hope for the Gambian people who have long been dissatisfied with Jammeh’s tyrannical rule (Abati 2016).

Many have expressed that Barrow’s win is a testament to the power of democracy (Maclean 2016). This may be true to some extent, however, despite 22 years of so-called “democratic elections”, Gambians were made to tolerate someone many describe as a “soulless dictator” in the person of Yahya Jammeh (Maclean 2016). Jammeh took power, by way of a coup d’etat in 1994 and ever since, The Gambia has experienced nothing but restricted civil liberties, increased poverty rates and other socio-economic setbacks.

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Timeyin Oritsesan

Timeyin is a writer and independent researcher for The Centre of Pan-African Thought. She holds a degree in International Business with a minor in Economics from Florida International University . She also holds a Masters degree in the Political Economy of Development (with special reference to Africa) from SOAS University in London.

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