The Gambia - Leadership

Jammeh has traded politically on his youth (he is in his late 30s), charisma, and faith as a devout Muslim. He has utilized the incumbency to its full advantage and has applied strong-arm tactics, intimidation, repression, and electoral manipulation to assert his power. Jammeh closed an independent radio station, Citizen FM, immediately after the 2001 presidential elections. He also arrested a reporter for West Africa Magazine and detained him without charge for nine days. The reporter claimed to have been tortured while in detention. Following his reelection in 2001, he arrested political activists and fired 50 senior civil servants suspected of supporting the opposition. Despite having called an extraordinary congress of the APRC in December 1999 to address systemic bureaucratic corruption, suspicions persist that Jammeh himself diverted more than US $1.9 million in petroleum sales to a Swiss bank account.

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