The United States has banned former president Yahya Jammeh and members of his family from entering the country, announcing on Monday a decision tied to “involvement in significant corruption.”
The law enabling the decision is applicable when, the department said, the Secretary of State has credible information of such corruption or a gross violation of human rights on the part of foreign government officials.
“The United States stands with the government of The Gambia, its people, and civil society in support of The Gambia’s transition towards greater transparency, accountability, and democratic governance, for the benefit of all Gambians,” the Department of State said.
The ban extends beyond Jammeh to his spouse, Zineb Yahya Jammeh, his daughter Mariam and son Muhammad. The longtime dictator was defeated in December 2016 elections but refused for weeks to yield to new President Adama Barrow. He eventually fled to Equatorial Guinea in early 2017 under pressure from the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Jammeh was placed under U.S. sanctions in December 2017, a decision based on more than two decades of human rights violations that included extrajudicial killings of political opponents and widespread repression targeting journalists and rights advocates. The U.S. Department of Treasury also cited Jammeh’s withdrawal of at least USD$50 million of state funds ahead of his departure, and a Gambian investigation of a Jammeh-registered business linked to some $35 million missing from state social security pension funds.
The Gambia continues to struggle with the economic fallout of Jammeh’s legacy, and the difficult work of establishing justice and reconciliation in the nation he led since 1994.