The high level delegation from the sub-regional bloc –Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) dispatched to Gambia has arrived.
The High-level ECOWAS delegation led by ECOWAS Chairwoman and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf includes President Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Ernest Bai Koroma of the Republic of Sierra Leone, outgoing Ghanaian President John Mahama and the Special Representative of the United Secretary General for West Africa, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
The delegation arrived in the country early Tuesday to mediate the current political upheaval following the December 1st President Elections.
The crisis is ignited by incumbent President Yahya Jammeh who ruled the country for the past 22 years and was defeated on December 1st by an opposition Coalition led by President-elect Adama Barrow.
Initially, Mr Jammeh conceded defeat and congratulated President-elect Adama Barrow. A week after conceding defeat, Jammeh made another U-turn and rejected the election results in totality blaming the electoral body of certain irregularities leading to his defeat and further announced that the results are ‘null and void.’
Mr Jammeh further called for fresh election in the country to be supervised by what he called ‘a God fearing electoral body”. This was followed by another announcement by his party to file a petition in court to challenge the result that he has already declared null and void.
The announcement on state television, GRTS TV, threw Gambia’s future into doubt as the winner and opposition coalition led by President-elect Adama Barrow rubbished Mr Jammeh’s claimed and urged him to ensure a smooth transition and hand over power.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority and President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last Sunday issued a special statement on the current political situation in The Gambia, urging President Jammeh to respect the election results, which reflect the freely expressed will of the Gambian people.
The statement also expressed support for the Joint Statement issued by the African Union Commission, the ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations and further called on the Gambian people to remain peaceful and calm.
The United Nations Security Council on Monday also “urged President Jammeh to meet and cooperate with the UN-ECOWAS high-level delegation.
The council met behind closed doors at Senegal’s request to discuss the crisis over Jammeh’s refusal to recognize the outcome of the December 1 election.
The Security Council earlier on Saturday released a unanimous statement demanding that Jammeh “transfer, without condition and undue delay, power to President-elect Adama Barrow.”
By Alhagie Jobe