Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to take calls because the international community is disregarding his legal appeal and putting pressure on officials in an effort to oust him, says a top aide to the president.
Gambia’s president has been incommunicado since last month after a meeting with four West African leaders who tried to prevail over the country’s longtime ruler to step down and allow a peaceful transfer of power.
“Only a few people has access to him,” says the aide. “He is right not to trust anyone.”
President Jammeh feels betrayed by some of his allies, whom he helped and gave senior government and diplomatic positions to.
Jammeh’s Ambassador to the U.S. Sheikh Omar Faye was the first senior official to urge the outgoing leader to step down. A dozen other ambassadors followed.
Mr. Jammeh’s main business ally, Gambian billionaire Amadou Samba has also urged him to step down and most recently former Speaker Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay.
UN Chief Ban Ki Moon said despite efforts to reach President Yahya Jammeh by phone, he has not yet been able to speak with him.
Jammeh called his meeting with West African leaders a mere formality, accusing a regional bloc, ECOWAS of being biased, violating the country’s sovereignty and declaring war against The Gambia.
Jammeh has until January 18 to relinquish power or face a standby ECOWAS force to flush him and uphold the outcome of the elections in which Jammeh lost to a businessman, Adama Barrow.