The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

UN says Gambia’s Jammeh must go


The UN’s west Africa envoy says Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh must step down when his mandate ends in January to enable opposition leader Adama Barrow to take office after his election win.

Speaking to AFP in Dakar, Senegal, Mohamed Ibn Chambas said that as Jammeh’s five-year mandate ended on January 19, he had a constitutional right to remain in office until then.

“Between now and January 19th it is Mr Jammeh that is the constitutionally elected president,” he said. “By January 19th he should be ready to hand over power.”

On Monday Barrow had called for the president to step down “now” as his coalition became increasingly annoyed by Jammeh’s refusal to admit defeat in the December 1 election and his party’s legal challenge against the result.

Commenting on opposition worries that Jammeh could try to cling on to power pending the outcome of the legal case lodged Wednesday by the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reconciliation and Construction (APRC), Chambas said:

“That legal process has nothing to do with the term of his mandate.”

His spokesman earlier told AFP that the ongoing police occupation of The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) — the object of the APRC’s legal complaint — was an “unacceptable act”.

“It is a violation of the independent nature, guaranteed by the constitution, of the electoral commission, as some soldiers have taken away commission materials relating to the presidential election,” the spokesman added.

The chairman of the IEC, Alieu Momar Njie, told AFP on Wednesday morning that he had not yet been informed why he was locked out of his own premises.

He further dismissed Jammeh’s legal challenge of the IEC’s election result as unworkable due to a lack of judges on the Supreme Court, which is the body mandated to decide on cases of electoral law.

“The only way they can pursue the commission is through the court, and there is no court,” Njie said.

To meet the deadline of January 18 required for Jammeh’s case to be heard before the end of his tenure, he would need to appoint as many as six judges to the Supreme Court, which has lain dormant since May 2015.

Lawyers continued a planned boycott of the court system Wednesday in protest at Jammeh’s legal fight.

The country’s most influential lawyers’ group, The Bar Association, has said any appointment of judges by Jammeh to decide on a case involving himself would be fundamentally unjust.

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Tuesday a that a heavyweight delegation of four African leaders including herself had failed to reach a consensus with Jammeh and Barrow on a transition of power.

“We come to help Gambians find their way through a transition. That’s not something that can happen in one day,” said Sirleaf who headed the team of four African heads of state and the UN’s Chambas.

The lack of a deal has come as a blow to the opposition, which had hoped Jammeh would leave power within a month under international pressure.

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

  • Ukaegbu, Friday C.

    The world must put pressure on Jammeh to quit power by the end of his tenure in January without conditions, otherwise a multi national force should be put in place to force him out. He should not be allowed a day longer, and also he should be made to understand that any form of blood letting will be visited on him and his family. He should be made, also, to read events in history,especially the cases of Master Sergeant Doe of Liberia and Ghaddaffi of Libya, and how they ended. His recalcitrance will make him a laughing stock, as any video on his inglorious end will make good sales. His family, if he has any, must advise him now to take the part of honour by stepping aside, for when the whirlwind comes it will sweep all of them away; and mercy might be too far to come by.

  • Tayomi

    This dark man appears not to love his people that he had ruled for about 22 years now.