ECOWAS now says it is contemplating military action to oust The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh if he refuses to step down when his term expires next month, but it appears the West African nation’s President-electAdama Barrow wants dialogue over war.
“I do not want to preside over a country that is not at peace with itself. Hence, I am calling for all peace loving Gambians to advocate, pray and work for a peaceful transfer of executive power, for the first time in our history since Independence,” Barrow said.
The real estate developer wants longtime ruler Jammeh to hand over power as peacefully as the British did when the country gained independence some half a century ago.
“If the colonialists could peacefully hand over executive power in accordance with the dictates of the people of the Gambia, we the citizens should be able to show a better example to our children and those yet unborn,” he said.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has refused to step down after conceding defeat and ceased all communication with the coalition that won the election. His ruling APRC Party has filed a challenge in court and Mr. Jammeh says he is not leaving power unless otherwise ruled by the courts.
Barrow has since threatened to swear himself in and declare Jammeh a rebel.
ECOWAS President Marcel de Souza announced troops are on alert to intervene and uphold the will of The Gambian people if President Yahya Jammeh refuses to relinquish power.
Jammeh accused the regional bloc of intimidating and blackmailing him and violating the sovereignty of the Gambia, which the opposition denied and supports ECOWAS resolution.
Gambia’s neighbor Senegal is expected to lead the intervention and the ECOWAS resolution has support from the international community, including the UN and AU, which had all demanded Jammeh to step down and allow the peaceful transfer of power.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Additional Writing by Sam Phatey; Editing by Alhagie Jobe)