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Gambia: Deadlock as African leaders fail to deter Jammeh from U-turn

Gambia: Deadlock as African leaders fail to deter Jammeh from U-turn

Gambia

The West African leaders who were in Gambia on Tuesday to try to convince Yahya Jammeh to acknowledge defeat in the recent presidential election and cede power failed to reach an agreement in this direction, leader of the team Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said.

“We have not come to an agreement, we have come to help the Gambians to organize the transition. It is not something that can be accomplished in a single day, we have to work on it,” Mrs Sirleaf told the press after meeting Jammeh and winner of the polls, Adama Barrow separately.

Sirleaf who is also Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was in Banjul along with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Ghana’s John Dramani Mahama and Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma, as part of an ECOWAS, African Union and United Nations mediation team.

We have not come to an agreement, we have come to help the Gambians to organize the transition. It is not something that can be accomplished in a single day, we have to work on it.

Sirleaf disclosed that the ECOWAS mission was in Banjul to meet Jammeh and to better understand the current situation. “We met with all the parties concerned and now we will report to our peers at a meeting of ECOWAS scheduled for Saturday in Abuja,” the federal capital of Nigeria where the West African organization has its headquarters, Sirleaf added.

She gave assurances that the current stalemate needed not seem disappointing “since I think the approach will work,” she added.

The President of ECOWAS stressed that all the interlocutors of the delegation had committed themselves to peace and stability in The Gambia.

At the same time, Mr. Jammeh’s party, the Patriotic Alliance for Reorientation and Construction (APRC), on Tuesday appealed to the Supreme Court to seek the annulment of the results of the December 1 election victory of Adama Barrow.

The APRC according to court documents said it believes that the Independent Electoral Commission “did not properly compile the results,” and said that in one part of the country, a significant number of its supporters “were intimidated and prevented from voting.”

Jammeh made a U-turn on December 9 stating on national television that he had annuled the polls of December 1 and ordered a rerun. International condemnation greeted his move after accepting defeat barely a week before.

Meanwhile the opposition have also stated categorically that they were not going to accept anything like a power sharing deal. The Gambian Bar Association (GBA) announced on Monday that there wasn’t a panel of Supreme Court judges hence Jammeh empaneling one to sit on an election petition will amount to him being a judge on his own case.

Security forces on Tuesday also took over the offices of the electoral body sacking the head who run the last polls. The head of the armed forces who hade earlier pledged loyalty to president-elect Adama Barrow is reported to have said Jammeh was paying his salary for now and that he respected Jammeh’s orders.

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