The recently re-elected president of the small West African nation of Gambia said he is ready to rule for “one billion years,” according to BBC.
Yahya Jammeh also dismissed critics and opponents who allege he gained his electoral victory last month through fraud and intimidation.
In addition, the president also said he will not share the same fate as such prominently deposed North African leaders like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.
My fate is in the hands of almighty Allah, he told BBC.
I will deliver to the Gambian people and if I have to rule this country for one billion years, I will, if Allah says so. I will not bow down before anybody, except the almighty Allah and if they [human rights groups] don't like that can go to hell.”
Jammeh, who has been in power in Gambia since engineering a bloodless coup as a 29-year-old in 1994, was re-elected with 72 percent of the vote, according to official figures.
However, the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), stated that Jammeh only won the election because the public was cowed by repression and intimidation.” ECOWAS didn’t even bother to send any officials to monitor the Gambian poll.
Moreover, opposition candidate Ousainou Darboe, who received 17 percent of vote, reportedly called the election results bogus, fraudulent and preposterous.
[They] constitute a capricious deception of the will of the people, the opposition United Democratic Party leader added.
Reporters Without Borders (RWB), which advocates for press freedom around the world, also criticized Gambian leadership, while highlight the danger to journalists in the country.
RWB has sought answers for the unsolved killing of Deyda Hydara, a correspondent for the Agence France Presse news agency and editor of The Point publication, who was shot to death in 2004.
In his BBC interview, Yammeh denied having anything to do with Hydara’s death.
Listen to me: Is he the only Gambian who died? Is he better than Gambians who die in accidents, Gambians who die at sea, Gambians who die on their way to Europe? Jammeh said.
Other people have also died in this country. So why is Deyda Hydara so special?
Jammeh has had a long and colorful history as Gambia’s leader. RWB cited that over the years he has claimed to have found the cures for AIDS, obesity, infertility in women and even erectile dysfunction.
He once reportedly threatened to behead homosexuals into order to “clean up” the country.
Jammeh also made a direct threat against human rights campaigners, according to RWB.
“If you are affiliated with any human rights group, rest assured that your security and personal safety would not be guaranteed by my government,” he said during a September 2009 televised address. “We are ready to kill saboteurs.”
In a recent tirade against journalists, Jammeh blasted: The journalists are less than 1 percent of the population and if anybody expects me to allow less than 1 percent of the population to destroy 99 percent of the population, you are in the wrong place.