The Gambia has a new President in Adama Barrow, winner of the December 1 polls according to the elections body. Barrow took the oath of office in the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal – where he remains as at today, Friday January 20, 2017.
Today is also the final day and the final chance the regional political bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is giving immediate past president, Yahya Jammeh, to step down or be forced out.
The Bloomberg news portal is reporting that Jammeh is currently negotiating amnesty with the Mauritainian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is back in the country after about 24 hours after failing to talk Jammeh out.
We call for democracy to be respected. Therefore, we fully support ECOWAS calling for the president-elect to be sworn into office in conformity with the constitution of the country.
Barrow confirmed via Twitter that Jammeh had finally agreed to cede power and leave The Gambia
Former President of Gambia Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down and leave the country after mediators spent hours to convince him to relinquish power.
New Gambian President Adama Barrow confirmed on Friday evening via his Twitter account and later deleted.
“I would like to inform you that Yaya Jammeh agreed to relinquish power and leave the country,” it was tweeted earlier.
I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia— Adama Barrow (@adama_barrow) January 20, 2017
The latest round of negotiation was carried out by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and Guinean President Alpha Conde. The fine details of the terms of his exit are currently being sorted out.
Jammeh’s final speech
South Africa, Kenya backs Barrow
Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Foreign Affairs and a contender for the African Union Chairperson position, Amina Mohamed, has tweeted support of the East African country for President Adama Barrow.
Kenya becomes the third African country after Botswana and Namibia. Reports indicate that South Africa has also said “good bye” to Jammeh.
We congratulate President H.E. Adama Barrow and wish him well as he takes over the reigns of power in a sisterly country. 2/4— AMB:Amina Mohamed (@AMB_A_Mohammed) January 20, 2017
It is a historic milestone in our collective history & reaffirms the commitment of Africa to take responsibility destiny. 3/4— AMB:Amina Mohamed (@AMB_A_Mohammed) January 20, 2017
We are grateful to the International Community for support to ECOWAS and stand ready to offer any assistance required. 4/4— AMB:Amina Mohamed (@AMB_A_Mohammed) January 20, 2017
Jammeh pleads for deadline extension, Barrow wants him out of The Gambia
The BBC is reporting that Jammeh asked for an extension of the ECOWAS deadline, asking that he be allowed to bow out at 16:00 GMT.
But a local journalist who says he spoke to President Barrow reports that Barrow says Jammeh must by all means leave the country.
Just spoke to #gambia prez Barrow says given the circumstances Jammeh needs to leave the country— Nicolas Haque (@nicolashaque) January 20, 2017
President Jammeh poses with his wives after taking office
Facts about The Gambia’s ex-President, a Sheikh and a Professor
1. He was born on May 25, 1965 in his village Kanilai
2. Then as a 29-year-old Lieutenant, Jammeh deposed President Dawda Kariaba Jawara on July 22, 1994.
3. He said the soldiers that overthrew Jawara were not in for long and that they wanted a just system
4. Jammeh, the second president since independence in 1965, once vowed to rule for a billion years
5. The first president took office in 1970 till Jammeh overthrew his government.
Namibia joins Botswana in calls for Jammeh to leave
“We call for democracy to be respected. Therefore, we fully support Ecowas calling for the president-elect to be sworn into office in conformity with the constitution of the country,” international relations minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who doubles as deputy prime minister is quoted by The Namibian, news portal to have said
Namibia’s guidelines as a member of the African Union are very clear and although some leaders fight to stay in power, the country will never support it, they also backed ECOWAS’ efforts.
AU labels Jammeh a ‘Former President of The Gambia’
The African Union Peace and Security Department says as far as it is concerned, Yahya Jammeh is officially an ex President of the Islamic Republic of Gambia. The group said it fully recognizes Adama Barrow as the legitimate leader of the West African country.
The AU PSD is meeting at the headquarters in Addis Ababa over developments in The Gambia as ECOWAS leaders meet with Jammeh in the latest round of efforts to convince him to step down.
They commended the ECOWAS for their continued engagements and asked Jammeh to spare the Gambia and Africa further trouble. ‘‘We appeal to the Former President of Gambia Mr Yahya Jammeh to depart peacefully & spare his country & the Continent any further trouble.’‘
Barrow celebrations in Dakar and Banjul
Despite reports of a tense atmosphere in the country all through Thursday, the capital Banjul and other areas broke out in celebration after Adama Barrow was sworn in and he delivered his inaugural address.
There were also jubilant scenes outside the embassy where Barrow took his oath of office.
Gambians gather at West field junction to celebrate the swearing-in of Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow in Banjul, Gambia January 19, 2017.
Gambians gather at West field junction to celebrate the swearing-in of Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow in Banjul, Gambia January 19, 2017
Other celebrations were captured by a journalist in The Gambia, including someone sweeping the streets with the reason that he was sweeping everything that has to do with Jammeh away from the country Jammeh has ruled for over two decades.
“I'm cleaning Mr Jammeh to go out,” says man jubilantly sweeping the street in Gambia. But Jammeh still in State House. pic.twitter.com/6G7PwR8UR7— Ruth Maclean (@ruthmaclean) January 19, 2017
Sunrise was deathly silent. Now the cheers are bubbling up in the Gambia after Barrow became president. pic.twitter.com/pM7rI8wYfM— Ruth Maclean (@ruthmaclean) January 19, 2017
ECOWAS halts 7000 strong force, Conde to talk Jammeh out peacefully
ECOWAS announced on Thursday night that it had halted a joint military operation for final mediation talks with outgone Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who has refused to step down.
Jammeh has been given until Friday noon to cede power or face military operation to remove him from the country’s seat of government and install the new President Adama Barrow, Head of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza told the media.
The final mediation mission on Friday will be led by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and other African leaders including Presidents of Liberia, Mauritania and officials of the United Nations.
Jammeh will not be allowed to stay in The Gambia and if mediation is successful, he will travel to Guinea and then choose a country of exile, de Souza said, adding that ECOWAS is open to possible amnesty for Jammeh as part of the deal.
It was agreed that the new President Adama Barrow will not return to the country until the 7000-men joint military operation ends.
Troops are in #Gambia. “They are walking towards Banjul. It is already war. If we find any resistance, we will fight it,” General Ndiaye.— Ruth Maclean (@ruthmaclean) January 19, 2017
7000 ECOWAS joint troops halted for final mediation talks in The Gambiahttps://t.co/GpX4EnK6rJ— africanews (@africanews) January 19, 2017
President Adama Barrow enjoying international support
Meanwhile UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on the new President of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, to express his support after the Security Council backed ECOWAS’ intervention.
He expressed supported for the decision of ECOWAS and deep concern at the refusal of Yahya Jammeh to surrender power. His call comes after that of the Security Council chief, who spoke to Barrow yesterday.
The United States also supported the ECOWAS military intervention describing it as important to stabilize a tense situation in The Gambia. ECOWAS secured the unanimous decision of the UNSC to enforce the will of the Gambian people as expressed in the last polls.
In a divided world, there is no division on who Gambia's President is today. https://t.co/84Ru9NXTQh— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) January 19, 2017
Welcome to Mr President Barrow!— EU in The Gambia (@EUinTheGambia) January 19, 2017
Attila Lajos – EU Ambassador to The Gambia
The ‘loyally peaceful’ army chief, did he also celebrate after Barrow’s investiture?
“We are not going to involve ourselves militarily. This is a political dispute,” Ousman Badjie is reported to have said in Banjul on Wednesday night.
“I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men,” he added, stopping to pose for selfies with admirers while dressed in fatigues, beret and green t-shirt, according to those present. If they (Senegalese) come in, we are here like this,” Badjie said, making a hands up to surrender gesture.