The United States has barred former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, and his immediate family members from entering the United States.
The state department announced the decision to bar Jammeh on Monday two years after he went into exile in Equatorial Guinea for refusing to concede defeat to the winner of the 2016 presidential election, Adama Barrow.
Why was Jammeh barred?
The State Department said Jammeh is now being banned entry to the country under a category that applies to foreign government officials who are believed to have committed “significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights”.
Jammeh’s offenses borders around his involvement in corruption during his tenure in office which lasted for two decades
The former president trained at a military base in Alabama before seizing power in 1994.
During his tenure, he used monetary proceeds from his corrupt practices to acquire a mansion worth $3.5million in the Washington suburb of Potomac, Maryland, from basketball star Calbert Cheaney.
His refusal to step down from office in 2019 led to a military threat by the African Union and the West African regional body ECOWAS which forced him to flee to Equatorial Guinea in January 2017.
Also, the present Barrow led administration in The Gambia reported that Jammeh stole at least $50m from the country while in office.
Against this background, Barrow set up has a truth panel to shed light on executions, torture, rape and other crimes under Jammeh’s rule.
United state’s involvement in the issue
Although reports claim that it is not clear why the United state’s government decided to bar Jammeh two years after he left office, the state department maintains that its main aim is to promote good governance globally.
A statement from the department reads in part:
“The United States is committed to combating corruption, increasing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and promoting good governance globally,”.
‘The United States stands with the government of The Gambia, its people and civil society in support of The Gambia’s transition towards greater transparency, accountability and democratic governance, for the benefit of all Gambians,” it said.
Other barred members of Jammeh’s family.
Due to the enormity of his crimes, Jammeh’s wife Zineb, and their daughter Mariam and son Muhammad have also been barred.