Almost a dozen Gambian diplomats in key missions around the world are backing President-elect Adama Barrow as the legitimate president of The Gambia and have called on President Yahya Jammeh to step down.
The country’s envoys, including ambassadors Elizabeth Ya Eli Harding in London and Dembo Badjie in Beijing and Mass Axi Gaye at the AU, Teneng Mba Jaiteh at the EU and Momodou Tankara at the UN say Jammeh’s refusal to leave power may destabilize the country.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh had concluded that the polls were transparent and opted for a peaceful transfer of power before taking the world aback with his u-turn a week later rejecting the outcome of the polls.
Gambia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sheikh Omar Faye set the precedent. He has since been recalled by Jammeh to home service as the diplomats speak in no uncertain terms for the peaceful transfer of power to Mr. Barrow.
President Yahya Jammeh has shown little sign that he will step down from power, but the defection of the top diplomats and condemnation from world leaders indicate that the long-ruling West African strongman may be losing his grip on the country.
West African leaders met in Abuja to discuss the political situation in The Gambia and President Yahya Jammeh is getting no support from them or any other body, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
ECOWAS, a regional grouping of Western African nations has been seeking democratic reform in its member states. An attempt to introduce a two-term limit for presidents was rejected by only The Gambia and Togo.
The UN has threatened to put in place strong sanctions against Mr. Jammeh. Despite the defection of his diplomats and mounting international pressure, Jammeh is pursuing a petition he filed in the Supreme Court in hopes to have the elections annulled and a fresh one held.
(Reporting and writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting and Editing by Sainey MK Marenah)