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Mugabe and Jammeh: The African presidential throw outs of 2017

The big question that came up in the wake of Mugabe’s ouster at home and abroad was ‘whoever thought that such a day will come.’ Most Zimbabweans admitted that even Mugabe could not have predicted the events of November 15 till 21 when he finally agreed to let go after 37 years.

In early December 2016, the same question was on the minds of many citizens and foreigners as The Gambia headed into presidential polls. Incumbent Yahya Jammeh conceded an unexpected electoral loss much to the shock of Gambians and the admiration of people around the world.

It did not take long before he unilaterally announced a cancellation of the polls over irregularities. The elections chief had reviewed results from the December 1 polls but that in Jammeh’s view was a sign that something had gone wrong.

Presidential politics on the continent has undoubtedly recorded two throw outs, knockouts if you like that were highly unlikely till they happened. 2017 has been an interesting one for Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and for Jammeh’s Gambia.

As part of our 2017 review, we look back at the circumstances that led to the ‘democratic’ ousting of two leaders who had chalked a combined reign of 59 years.

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