Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said a delegation she led to The Gambia to mediate in the developing political crisis was not in Banjul to secure a deal.
A week after conceding defeat in a landmark vote that saw him lose, President Yahya Jammeh shocked the world when he announced on Dec. 9 that he rejects the results and calls for fresh elections.
The announcement has been received with anxiety by the people of The Gambia and prompted the chairperson of ECOWAS, madam Sirleaf to fly into the West African country on Tuesday morning.
“We did not come for a deal, we need to help the Gambians find their way through a transition and it is not something that will happen in one day, it is something that one has to work on,” she said.
Sirleaf was in Banjul with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma and the U.N. Special Representative for West Africa Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
“Now we will go back to our colleagues at a meeting of the Authority on Saturday, Dec. 17 in Abuja,” she said after more than eight hours of the meetings with Jammeh, Barrow, the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission Alieu Momar Njai and security chiefs. “At the same time, the president and all the entities have assured us that peace and stability will remain in The Gambia as the transition process proceeds to a conclusion.”
A day after Jammeh fault the fairness of an electoral process he earlier commended as “most transparent and rig-proof”, he announced he will challenge the results in the country’s Supreme Court.
But the Gambia Bar Association (GBA) said the move “further compounds the illegitimate and destabilizing actions of the outgoing President.”
“It would be against the principles of natural justice for the outgoing President to appoint Supreme Court Judges to hear a petition filed by him or on his behalf,” GBA President Sheriff Tambedou said.
President Yahya Jammeh’s APRC has already filed a petition in court challenging the outcome of the elections.