French President Francois Hollande on Saturday during the France-Africa summit in Mali said that the Gambian presidential election results must be respected.
Leaders and officials from some 30 African countries gathered in the capital Bamako on Saturday for the start of the 27th Africa-France summit, which focused mainly on security and development to reduce the migration flows into Europe.
After the summit, Hollande and ECOWAS leaders met with Gambia President-Elect Adama Barrow.
Finally, we discussed specific situations, particularly what is happening in Gambia. Elections were held that were considered credible and transparent.
Halland said the idea of the meeting was for the ECOWAS to meet in parallel with the summit to reinforce the result.
“Finally, we discussed specific situations, particularly what is happening in Gambia. Elections were held that were considered credible and transparent, and therefore the election result must be respected. You have seen that the President-Elect was welcomed at this summit and everything must be done so that on January 18, or on January 19, he is able to effectively take up his new role,” he” added.
The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, whose authoritarian rule began after a 1994 coup, lost the December 1 election to businessman Barrow by a slim margin.
He initially conceded defeat, but a week later, contested the results and called for another poll. He now refuses to give up power, but Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita hopes that Jammeh will change his mind come the day his mandate officially ends.
“We laid down our fort. We have, by common accord, received President Barrow here, which is a de facto recognition, and on the 19th (of January, the day Barrow is to be sworn in), I dare to hope that proverbial African wisdom will inspire our brother Yahya,” said Keita.
The question of whether Gambia can install Barrow as president is seen as a test case for African democracy in a region accustomed to coups and autocratic rule.
President Yahya Jammeh’s mandate runs out on January 18, after which Barrow plans to be sworn in.