The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has not written any letter to ambassadors of UN member states explaining his reasons for refusing to step down, Gambia’s acting Permanent Secretary to the UN Samsudeen Sarr confirmed.
Gambia’s UN mission in New York said it has “not seen or submitted any paper, official or unofficial remotely resembling anything like it to the United Nations for President Jammeh, the Gambia government or for the mission in New York” explaining the current political situation in the country, mainland Africa’s smallest with a population of fewer than two million people.
A purported letter from President Yahya Jammeh was trending online but Gambian officials close to the longtime ruler who lost the December 1 polls say the letter is “fake and forged.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said this week that Mr. Jammeh was unreachable by phone. Jammeh is under pressure from the international community and facing local resistance to step down.
“The letter is well forged. It is a lie and fabrication on steroids. Some people are calling for democracy and press freedom but have no sense of responsibility. They are not respecting the views of others and are already breaking the law by impersonating a government and spreading false news,” Sarr said.
The letter was said to be sent to all UN ambassadors but thanked the German envoy at the end.
An aide to Mr. Jammeh said that the letter did not have the proper letterhead and record number; was too lengthy and the signature scanned from a photocopied document probably available online.
Gambia’s repressive media laws have made dissident newspapers in the diaspora prevalent and a key source of information for its citizens. Newsrooms in the West African nation were forced into self-censorship. The online newspapers, however, for the most part, were not credible, but were instrumental in helping to expose rights abuses and crimes against the state by President Yahya Jammeh and his regime.