Gambia’s ministers for health and social welfare, tourism and culture and environment and water resources have resigned from President Yahya Jammeh’s government in protest of his refusal to peacefully hand over executive power.
Their resignations of Health Minister Omar Sey, Tourism Minister Benjamin Roberts, and Environment Minister Pa Ousman Jarju were announced just a day before President Yahya Jammeh’s term expired.
Jammeh had named Tourism Minister Benjamin Roberts as Finance Minister, just hours before his resignation was made public and Mr. Jarju was in line for a top UN environment job.
More than half of Jammeh’s cabinet have so far quit, leaving critical ministries like finance and foreign affairs without leadership.
Jammeh’s refusal to cede power has plunged the Gambia into a political turmoil. His attempts to use the courts to remain in power failed.
Foreign judges hired to hear Jammeh’s petitions were unable to make it to the small nation and Jammeh insists he won’t step aside until the courts make a ruling.
“The so-called deadline of January 19, 2017, is not cast in stone and all parties shall await the outcome of the Supreme Court,” Jammeh said.
West African leaders have urged Jammeh to step down and were unsuccessful with their mediation effort. Jammeh rejected asylum offers from Nigeria and Morocco.
Before his inauguration on Thursday, Barrow’s special adviser Mai Fatty read a statement on his behalf in Dakar, urging Gambians to “exercise restraint, observe the rule of law and not to respond to provocation.”