Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh speaks to a spiritualist at the Roots Home Coming Festival in Kanilai / Photo: Jason Florio/Getty Images

Gambia’s Chief Justice urges demoralized President Jammeh to accept ECOWAS offer

Gambia’s Nigerian-born Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle has urged President Yahya Jammeh to embrace offer by ECOWAS to peacefully bring the peanut exporting country’s political deadlock to an end.

The Gambia’s Supreme Court was on Tuesday unable to hear Mr. Jammeh’s petition to have the election results nullified, hold fresh elections or declare him the winner. The five Nigerian and one Sierra Leonean foreign judges due to hear the case were a no show in Banjul.

“Parties should consider alternative resolution of the political conflict through Ecowas or the committee of political parties. Gambia should not be a place where peace cannot be found. All men of good will, all peace loving and God fearing should assist the Gambia at the time of need” Justice Fagbenle said.

Gambian winning opposition coalition and its President-elect Adama Barrow repeatedly urged President Yahya Jammeh to open lines of communication to allow a smooth transition. Mr. Jammeh has held himself incommunicado.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Jammeh has been unreachable.

Defeated GDC opposition presidential hopeful Mama Kandeh has offered to mediate between the winning coalition and Jammeh ruling but soon to be opposition APRC party for a peaceful transfer of executive power.

West African leaders led by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will be in Banjul on Wednesday in a last diplomatic effort for Jammeh to step down.

Jammeh is facing strong local resistance and the longstanding authoritarian ruler is still clamping down on pro-democracy campaigners, opposition supporters and the media with only a week before his term expires.

(Reporting by Sheriff Bojang Jr – WADR; Writing by Sam Phatey; Editing by Alhagie Jobe; Photo by: Jason Florio – All rights reserved)

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