Mainland Africa’s smallest nation is putting up a nominee to become the head of the regional organization that helped bring the country’s new leader, Adama Barrow to power.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow is making the arduous move as he seeks to country takes its rightful position in the international world after decades of political and diplomatic isolation.
This is the first time that The Gambia is seeking the leadership of the Commission since its inception in 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Cabinet discussed the Presidency of the ECOWAS Commission. The Gambia is putting forth a candidate for the Presidency of the ECOWAS Commission,” said Press Secretary, Amie Bojang Sissoho.
The ECOWAS presidency is a rotational position. The current ECOWAS Commission President, Mr. Marcel de Souza, is from the Bénin Republic, and his term expires in February 2018.
The position has previously been held by Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana and Burkina Faso.
The current Vice President of ECOWAS is Gambia’s Edward Singhateh, a former coup leader that helped bring the country’s ousted autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh to power.
Jammeh was defeated in the polls and refused to step aside accusing the electoral commission of rigging the polls under international pressure. ECOWAS forces intervened ousting him and installing Barrow.
The treaty of Lagos, which led to the formation of ECOWAS was originally touted as an economic initiative, but emerging political events led to its revision and therewith the expansion of scope and powers in 1993.
Bojang did not say who President Barrow will select as the country’s nominee for the ECOWAS job. The new leader has so far visited at least five West African nations, mending ties that were strained by Jammeh.
The ECOWAS troops that sent Jammeh packing remain in the Gambia and protecting Barrow. Normalcy has returned since the post-electoral wabbles ended. Barrow broadened the mandate of the force, which is also leading the security reform and stabilization efforts of his regime.