Gambian President Yahya Jammeh will not be allowed to remain head of state if he refuses to go after his elected term ends next month, and will face strong sanctions if he clings to power, the top U.N. official in West Africa said on Wednesday.
U.N. Special Representative for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambas said Jammeh would be “strongly sanctioned” if he did not step down and hand over power to Barrow, without giving details.
“For Mr. Jammeh, the end is here and under no circumstances can he continue to be president. By that time (Jan. 18), his mandate is up and he will be required to hand over to Mr. Barrow,” Mohammed Ibn Chambas told Reuters.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, along with the US, also urged the Gambian security forces to leave the country’s electoral commission office, which they seized on Tuesday.
Jammeh was defeated in the in the Dec. 1 election to little-known challenger Adama Barrow, but in a dramatic about-face that drew international condemnation, he then rejected the voting results last Friday, and his party is now challenging the outcome at Gambia’s Supreme Court.