AU Chief says there is no need for prolonged discussions over Gambia’s crisis and its President-elect Adama Barrow must be sworn-in as the West African nation’s president next week.
“The Gambia voted, the president-elect was voted and he should be installed when the time comes,” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. “The will of the people must be respected.”
Zuma has called on the AU Peace and Security Council to be unambiguous and unequivocal in its message to President Yahya Jammeh, who is refusing to step down after losing elections in The Gambia.
African leaders are working with leading negotiators from West Africa to end the political crisis in mainland Africa’s smallest nation. Jammeh who ruled the country for 22 years was defeated by businessman Adama Barrow, who was backed by eight opposition groups.
“If we fail the people of The Gambia, we will be failing Africa. We’ve come a long way. Democracy in Africa is thriving,” Zuma said.
The African Union says it will cease to recognize Yahya Jammeh as The Gambia’s legitimate president after last-ditch attempts to persuade the longtime leader to step down failed.
ECOWAS is seeking the UN and AU’s approval to send troops to Gambia to enforce the election results. Barrow is currently in Mali where he is meeting with French President Francois Hollande and African leaders attending the Africa-France Summit.
AU’s Peace and Security Council warned of “serious consequences” if Jammeh’s actions lead to political disorder and the “loss of innocent lives.”
Jammeh, a former coup leader who has ruled the country since 1994, lost a December 1 election to Adama Barrow by a slim margin. He initially conceded defeat but a week later contested the poll’s results, stating irregularities.