French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday said President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia stepping down after losing elections is a non-negotiable matter, after a meeting with Senegal’s President Macky Sall in Paris.
Hollande urged that President-elect Adama Barrow, who defeated Mr. Jammeh in the polls to be sworn-in immediately and confronted Mr. Jammeh’s challenge of the outcome.
“The results are clear and cannot be challenged and President-elect Adama Barrow must be installed as soon as possible,” Hollande said. “There is no doubt about this reality. No transaction is possible and Mr. Jammeh should respect the will of the people.”
President Yahya Jammeh is formally challenging the results in court, but Hollande insisted the polls were “indisputable” and “non-negotiable.”
President Yahya Jammeh had at first conceded defeat but known for changing his mind, he made a decision that has shocked the international community, but not Gambians when he rejected the polls in totality and called for fresh polls to be held.
“This election is transparent. It is rig-proof and fraud-proof” said Jammeh. But he is now accusing the electoral commission of “gross incompetence” and of rigging the polls because of international pressure.
Gambian opposition leaders and the international community are banking their hopes on Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail over President Jammeh to allow the peaceful transfer of power.
Gambia’s neighbors are not opting out a military option to bend him to yield to Barrow and uphold the will of The Gambia people, but Jammeh has shown no sign of leaving.
Hollande hinted France will support ECOWAS, the sub-regional body taking the lead in addressing the political logjam in enforcing the sovereign decision of Gambians.
Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994 and his government is accused of rights violence including torture and extra-judicial executions, reports that he continue to deny.