President Yahya Jammeh says he would not be bullied or intimidated out of the presidency as the world backs and recognizes businessman Adama Barrow as the president-elect of the West African nation of The Gambia.
Jammeh, 51, first accepted defeated as the will of Allah, but now refuses to step down and says “nobody can deprive me of that victory except the almighty Allah.”
ECOWAS is mediating with Jammeh to allow the peaceful transfer of power. The president of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel de Souza made public that a standby force is on alert to enforce the will of the Gambian people who voted for Barrow on December 1.
Jammeh seems ready not to go without a fight.
“I won’t be a coward,” the country’s longtime ruler said.
Jammeh has ruled the tiny nation with a population of just under two million people with an iron fist. He came to power through a bloodless military coup in 1994. His rule, however, was not as bloodless as the coup that brought him to power.
Human rights groups have accused Jammeh’s regime of extra-judicial executions, tortures, and enforced detentions.
With Jammeh refusing to go, Gambians may be bracing for a ruthless and bloody transition from one of West Africa’s last strong dictators if the world those not intervene.
The United Nations and the African Union supports ECOWAS’s “by all means necessary” approach and Gambians hope, Jammeh will be bent to leave without resulting to a conflict.