West African leaders are expected to be in Banjul January 18 for the inauguration of The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow who they say must be sworn in.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh lost to Mr. Barrow but refuses to step down after initially accepting defeat.
Barrow, 51, a political neophyte and a real estate developer rose to become a presidential hopeful after the spring arrest and subsequent jailing of the main opposition leader Ousainou Darboe.
Forces loyal to Jammeh seized the electoral commission, but ECOWAS leaders in Abuja vowed to enforce the results and urged the military to perform their role in a nationalistic manner and protect lives and property. The UN and U.S. have demanded they vacate the commission and not to tamper with sensitive electoral materials.
President-elect Barrow has threatened to swear himself in as President if Jammeh refuses to step down.
President Jammeh’s term officially expires on January 18.
A visit by ECOWAS leaders to Banjul did not yield any results, but the visiting West African presidents urged Mr. Barrow’s transition team to continue working towards constituting their new government.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will lead a mediation effort to have Jammeh peacefully relinquish power.
(Reporting by Sainey MK Marenah; Writing by Sam Phatey; Editing by Alhagie Jobe)