West African leaders hit the wall with Jammeh

Ghana’s former President John Mahama (President Buhari’s co-mediator) with Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow in Banjul, The Gambia / PHOTO: Alhagie Manka / State of Mic

Mediation efforts to secure a peaceful resolution to The Gambia’s political crisis has failed. Regional leaders in Banjul were unsuccessful in their bid to convince President Yahya Jammeh to hand over power when his mandate expires next week.

West African leaders were in Banjul last month to persuade Mr. Jammeh to peacefully hand over to President-elect Adama Barrow after a political standoff was sparked by Jammeh’s refusal to relinquish power.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is leading the ECOWAS mediation effort and lawmakers in his country voted to grant President Jammeh and his family asylum if he agrees to step down. Buhari has left Banjul for Bamako, Mali’s capital, for a security meeting with other West African leaders.

ECOWAS has put on hold a standby military force to exhaust all diplomatic attempts.

Mr. Jammeh’s refusal to leave has crippled the Gambia’s economy and the political uncertainty has made Gambians be internally displaced and hundreds more have since fled to neighboring Senegal.

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh says he will not step down until the Supreme Court decides on his election petition challenge.

Gambian coalition leaders, who won last month’s election vow to swear in Mr. Barrow as president. Jammeh’s party has filed an injunction to bar the judiciary, civil service and the international community from taking part in the Barrow inauguration.

(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Contribution and Editing by Sainey MK Marenah)

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