The United States Embassy in the Gambia has hailed the Supreme Court’s ‘‘decision not to hear the election challenge without a quorum,’‘ adding that ‘‘doing so would have further undermined public trust in the process.’‘
The Embassy has already asked all citizens in the Gambia to leave the tiny West African country which is currently in a state of political uncertainty. They have also warned against travel to the country citing potential of unrest and violence.
The uncertainty arises from the refusal of president Yahya Jammeh to handover executive power after losing the December 1 presidential elections as per the results declared by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
A decision by the Supreme Court must not be used as a justification to prolong Jammeh’s term in office beyond the scheduled transition.
To confirm earlier reports, US Embassy in #Gambia restated its unwavering support to Pres.-Elect Barrow, urged US citizens to leave country.— Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_JeffreyT) January 6, 2017
The Gambian apex court failed to sit on a poll petition filed by Jammeh’s party citing the failure to get judges from other countries to sit on the issue. The Chief Justice said the closest date they could get judges was in May, Jammeh’s mandate ends on January 19.
A statement issued by the Embassy on Thursday reiterated its call on President Jammeh to respect the will of the Gambian people, a dozen of his own ambassadors, scores of civil society groups, mayors, and ministers who have all called on him to accept the election outcome.
In a direct message to Jammeh who recently said he will only abide by a court decision, the Embassy added, ‘‘A decision by the Supreme Court must not be used as a justification to prolong Jammeh’s term in office beyond the scheduled transition.’‘
They further urged President Jammeh to meet with the ECOWAS delegation, headed by Nigerian President Buhari, – the meeting is scheduled for Friday January 13 - to help facilitate a peaceful and timely transition.
‘‘We condemn the further restrictions on freedom of the press that the Gambian Government has imposed by revoking the broadcasting licenses of private radio stations, without explanation. We call on the Gambian government to reverse this decision and restore the Gambian public’s access to information during this time of uncertainty,’‘ the statement concluded.