Saturday, February 4, 2012

Yahya Jammeh

Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh (Jola: يحيا آبدل-آزٌيز جمس خنكنغ ديلليو جمح; born May 25, 1965) is a Gambian politician who has been President of The Gambia since 1994. As a young army officer, he took power in a July 1994 military coup and was elected as President in 1996; he was re-elected in 2001, 2006, and 2011.

President Jammeh received a secondary school education in the Gambia, joined the Gambian National Army in 1986, was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1989, and in 1992 became commander of the Gambian Military Police.[citation needed] He received extensive military training in Neighboring Senegal and at United States Army School of the Americas.

Rise to power
On July 22, 1994, a group of young officers in the Gambian National Army seized power from President Dawda Jawara in a military coup by taking control of key facilities in the capital city, Banjul. The coup took place without bloodshed and met with very little resistance. The group identified itself as the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC). Jammeh, who was 29 years old at the time, was the chairman of the AFPRC. The AFPRC then suspended the constitution, sealed the borders, and implemented a curfew. While Jammeh's new government justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the Jawara regime, army personnel had also been dissatisfied with their salaries, living conditions, and prospects for promotion.

Personal Life
Jammeh's first marriage ended in divorce. Jammeh married his second wife Zeinab Suma Jammeh, in 1999, and they have two children as of 2007: a daughter, Mariam Jammeh, and a son, Muhammed Yahya Jammeh. The latter was born in late 2007, when his daughter was eight years old. Both of his children were born in Washington, D.C., and U.S. citizenship recognition was requested for the first child – but her request was denied (because, as a child of a foreign person holding diplomatic exemption status, she was not considered subject to the jurisdiction of the United States when born, as is required for birthright citizenship in the United States).

On September 30, 2010, Jammeh announced his marriage to a 21-year-old (or possibly 18-year-old) additional wife by the name Ms. Alima Sallah, daughter of Mr Omar Gibril Sallah, Gambia's current Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Mrs Zahra Sallah. It was announced that his new wife would officially be referred to as Lady Alima Yahya Jammeh, and would not be referred to as a "first lady", since Zeinab Suma Jammeh is the official "first lady".

According to at least one source, his marriage to Ms. Sallah was a shock to his other wife Zeinab Suma Jammeh, and the additional marriage led to strains in their relationship and even plans for their divorce. Zeinab Jammeh had reportedly already been living in the U.S. separately from her husband for some time. Ms. Sallah reportedly also left Gambia for the U.S. in June 2010. According to the same publication, he then divorced Ms. Sallah in early 2011.

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