The Gambia is over for Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh, President of Gambia – who once promised to “slit the throats” of all homosexuals – lost his bid for re-election.
After 22 years in power, Jammeh was defeated by opposition leader Adama Barrow in last week’s election. Gambia, a western African country of just over two million people, borders the northern Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by Senegal.
“A new Gambia is born,” Barrow told the Associated Press on Saturday after receiving 45 percent of the vote to 36 percent for Jammeh. “We want everybody on board now. This is Gambia, politics is over.”
Jammeh seized control of the country in a military coup in 1994. He proceeded to make outrageous statements about gays and decreed in November of 2014 the act of homosexuality to be punishable by life in prison.
A devout Muslim, Jammeh called gays “vermin” and said his government would deal with LGBT people as if they were malaria-carrying mosquitos.
Following Jammeh's crackdown on gays, the United States dropped Gambia from its African free trade agreement.
In the election’s aftermath, Jammeh said on state television that he would help Barrow “work towards the transition.” The BBC reports Jammeh, 51, seemed “bewildered by the result.” Previously, the dictator had stated he would rule the Gambia for one billion years if “Allah willed it.”
Frank Mugisha, an African LGBT rights activist, applauded the election results, tweeting, “At least some good news from Gambia, restoring some hope in the year 2016.”