Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said ECOWAS is violating his country’s sovereignty and troops from the regional bloc that will be intervening in the political standoff will be seen as enemy forces.
Jammeh lost last month’s presidential polls and after initially accepting defeat, he is now refusing to step down.
Justice Emmanuel Nkea, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of The Gambia thinks otherwise and said Mr. Jammeh holding on to power is what would be violating the Gambia’s sovereignty.
“The ECOWAS pro-democratic intervention would rather support the territorial sovereignty of the Gambia by enforcing the political will and sovereignty of Gambians, which would otherwise be violated by the hold on power by Jammeh,” Nkea wrote in an opinion piece on SMBC.
President Jammeh has launched new waves of crackdowns on dissenting voices and free speech. Human rights violations continue to be violated weeks before his mandate expires.
ECOWAS forces would be protecting such rights making their intervention consistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
Nkea said since the intended military action by ECOWAS would not annex any part of Gambia’s territory, it would not threaten Gambia’s territorial integrity.
Gambia is a state party to the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which bears zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means. ECOWAS has been pushing for democratic reforms. The Gambia and Togo were the only countries that opposed an ECOWAS proposal to introduce two-term limits for presidents in all its member states.
Nkea identified that Gambia is also a state party to the ECOWAS Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, peace-keeping and Security, which allows for a military intervention into member states and explicitly orders a course of action in cases of severe governance problems.
“From this perspective, the intended military intervention by ECOWAS would not constitute an infringement of Gambia’s territorial sovereignty, Nkea wrote.