After hours of working hard to convince the Gambia’s defeated President Yahya Jammeh to hand over power, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States left Banjul without achieving their goal.
President Jammeh would not renege on challenging the December 1st presidential election results at the Supreme Court which lacks enough judges to preside over cases. Jammeh, who had earlier conceded defeat, later reversed his decision claiming voter irregularities. The outgoing leader also declared the results “null and void”. And to add salt to injury, security forces denied the Chief Electoral Commissioner access to his office on Tuesday.
In the light of all these developments, the Ecowas Chair who led a delegation of four heads of state remains hopeful. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told Reuters that “it is not time for a deal. It is not something that can happen in one day. It is something that we have to work on.”
President Sirleaf’s delegation included President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Ernst Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and outgoing President of Ghana John Mahama.
Sirleaf is delighted that the “President and all the entities assured us that peace and stability will remain in Gambia as the decision process proceeds to a conclusion.”
Regional leaders will convene a summit on the Gambia’s political crisis in Abuja on Saturday.
Mediators also held separate meetings with President-elect Adama Barrow and his opposition coalition partners. After the meeting, President Buhari told the opposition to go ahead with the inaugural preparations.” President Jammeh is constitutionally obliged to hand over power to President-elect elect in mid-January next year.
Yahya Jammeh’s government denied Mr. Barrow security and access to national television.
The head of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza told Radio France International that sending troops was “a conceivable solution” if negotiations have failed.