Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow meets with delegation of West African leaders on election crisis in Banjul, Gambia December 13, 2016 REUTERS/Afolabi Soktunde

What are we expecting of ECOWAS and the coalition?

I’m an optimist but also a realist. The Gambia and Gambians including myself welcomed ECOWAS’ initial position of Jammeh to respect the will of Gambians’, and their subsequent position that was a strong communique signed on December 17, 2016, to ensure President-elect Barrow is not only inaugurated but his personal safety guaranteed.

What we’re hearing from Accra that they’re still pursuing mediation efforts does not change anything. Their posture and commitment primarily is to ‘peacefully resolve’ this crisis.

That’s what all responsible people, leaders, and institutions do. These are not bodies of mercenaries with pens and guns. Gambian lives are what their priorities are, not anything personal against Jammeh or favoritism towards Barrow. We should expect them to exhaust all possible means that could yield us success with less collateral damage.

When Gambians were forming a coalition, going to polls and voting Jammeh and APRC out, there was no ECOWAS. They didn’t even send an observer mission to the Gambia. Gambians were determined to end the dictatorship, the servitude, and the oppression. They entrusted a competent, respectable group of determined patriots to steer their affairs. The coalition is doing just that. Thus far, they’ve not put a foot wrong.

The Coalition asked that we be calm through all this. They insist that Jammeh is still president until January 18, and Barrow becomes legitimate president at the expiration of the term of Yaya.

These are facts.

When the ECOWAS delegation went to the Gambia on a ‘fact finding mission,’ the coalition were obliged to listen to them, and in good faith, had welcome that mediation. Never did they tell Gambians ‘you voted for us but now we’re bequeathing our responsibility to ECOWAS.’

They never told us they’re folding hands to wait for ECOWAS.

Whether ECOWAS comes to our rescue or not, Gambians are the ones to defend their votes and mandate. President Yahya Jammeh cannot do much about that. So do not go into panic mode, because you heard a diplomatic statement from ECOWAS.

What were we expecting? A statement to say they are launching an attack to kill Jammeh? In any way, ECOWAS reiterated that they’re ‘standing by and with the people of the Gambia.’

My faith is in the thousands of Gambians who had the will and capacity to vote out a 22-year brutal dictatorship. The same people have the capacity to defend their verdict, whether with ECOWAS or not. Anything less than that would be not respecting them!

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