The UN Envoy for Western Africa said military force may not be needed to bend The Gambia’s longtime ruler, President Yahya Jammeh, to relinquish power after losing an election that shows that the small nation that attracts British holidaymakers is deeply divided.
ECOWAS President Marcel de Souza told RFI the regional bloc will not put military option off the table although the prefer to use diplomacy to sway Jammeh to leave when his term expires.
Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Mr. Jammeh clinching on to power can destabilize the entire sub-region. Ms. Sirleaf was part of a high-powered delegation of West African leaders that were in Banjul to persuade Jammeh to step down.
Jammeh’s party has filed a petition to legally challenge the outcome of the elections. Party Secretary General and government minister Bala Garba Jahumpa said they are seeking to have the elections annulled.
The bid has been challenged by the bar association. Jammeh is facing strong condemnation from unions, youth groups, and the civil society. Students at the country’s university and faculty members are boycotting college activities.
Halifa Sallah, the spokesperson for the coalition that won the election warned Jammeh that he will be declared a rebel if he refuses to leave after January 18.