Gambian president Yahya Jammeh has recalled about 10 ambassadors from their posts. All twelve belong to the group that implored him to accept the results of the December 1 polls and step down.
They include ambassadors to China, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Russia, Cuba, Guinea Bissau, Belgium, Spain, Ethiopia and the United Nations.
The recall of these 10 brings to 12 the number of recalled envoys. Jammeh earlier recalled the Gambia’s United States diplomat, Sheikh Omar Faye, a week after he publicly asked Jammeh to accept defeat.
The will of the people expressed in the election of 1 December (in The Gambia) must be respected.
Over the weekend, the envoy to Senegal was also recalled, Momodou Pa Njie becames the second Gambian ambassador recalled from service for impressing on Jammeh to accept his loss in the December 1 presidential elections.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediation mission led by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari is expected to meet Jammeh in Banjul on Wednesday January 11.
No judges for election petition hearing
The announcements of sacked ambassadors came on the eve of the Supreme Court’s hearing of Mr. Jammeh’s party’s appeal. On December 13 Jammeh’s party filed a poll petition but uncertainties remain about this hearing, as several non-Gambian judges approached has not officially accepted to sit on it.
The Gambia often calls on magistrates from other English-speaking countries to strengthen its judicial system. The Nigerian Chief Justice stated that other judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone were due to arrive for today’s hearing.
“We were expecting judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone” on an Air Morocco flight on Monday, “they did not come,” a judicial source told AFP.
Nigerian and Gambian legal experts told AFP that five Nigerian and one Sierra Leonean judges were solicited for the case, none of which responded.
“The will of the people expressed in the election of 1 December (in The Gambia) must be respected,” the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mahmoud Abubakar Balarabe, told AFP.
A local journalist also tweeted that the Chief Justice has told Jammeh’s lawyers that hearing could only be practically possible by May.
The Chief Justice just informed Jammeh's lawyer dat it may be practically impossible to proceed with this case before May. #GambiaHasDecided— Saikou Jammeh (@saiks2) January 10, 2017
The CJ says parties should consider alternative resolution of the political conflict through Ecowas or the committee of political parties— Saikou Jammeh (@saiks2) January 10, 2017