Gambia: The triumph of corporate prayers

Austen C. Ukachi

Not all have been heard or written about what led to the smooth exit of Yahya Jammeh, the erstwhile President of the nation of Gambia, who ruled the tiny African country for 22 years, from 1995. The peaceful exit of Yahya Jammeh still remains a surprise in a continent known for turbulent elections and sit-tight presidents.  

Unknown to many, for five consecutive years, beginning from 2011 to 2015, leading to the Jubilee celebration of the nation of Gambia, corporate prayers were held by the Church for the peace, stability and progress of the nation. It is my view, as one who actively participated in those prayers that the peaceful exit of Yahya Jammeh without any gunshot and any soul lost, could not have been but for the corporate prayers, which were made for the nation from 2011 till date. No doubt, international diplomacy brought tremendous pressure on Jammeh, but behind the scene, prayers were made starting from 2011.

What eventually happened January 21, 2017 was God’s intervention in response to the prayers. 
Engineer Chinedu Meribole has been a missionary to the Gambia for about 22 years. After graduating with a second-class upper division in civil engineering from the University of Nsukka, he set out for the Gambia as a missionary. For years, he had carried the burden of that nation, reaching out to the unreached peoples with the gospel. For five consecutive years, before the Jubilee celebration of Gambia on February 18, 2015, he held prayer seminars and mobilised the Church in Gambia to pray for that country to experience full spiritual Jubilee, not knowing what laid ahead of the nation. The peaceful exit of Yahya Jammeh from the stage without any bloodbath was a political Jubilee of some sort. 

Prior to the elections held on December 2, 2016, which saw the emergence of Adama Barrow, Gambia had been the most peaceful West African nation. The beautiful Gambian beaches are daily full of tourists, especially during the months of January to April of each year. Though one of the poorest nations in Africa, its main export is groundnut, yet the nation boasts of having one of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in African, which makes it a tourist attraction. What strikes a visitor is the security and the low-crime rate in the nation. Visit the nation and you will see tourists roaming the streets and surrounding villages with their families as late as midnight. Credit must go to Jammeh for the low crime rate, but at the same time, he is responsible for the poor economic development of the country that has given rise to its having the highest rate of migration of youths on the African continent.

The aphorism that “when we work, we work, but when we pray God works” is exemplified in the Gambia political situation. Gambia is a testimony of the ability of the Church to unite in corporate prayers and prevail in politics. After 22 years of misrule, Yahya Jammeh finally fled the country, looting the nation’s treasury of about $11. 4m, thereby leaving the poor nation bankrupt. We must, however, continue to pray for the success of the new President, Adama Barrow. We must pray that he won’t be inflicted with the bug of corruption and political misrule, which has plagued African nations for decades. We must pray for him to maintain religious tolerance. Prayer works, even in the politics of a nation!

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