Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh has criticised international pressure for him to step down as he announced the appointment of a mediator to help resolve the country’s political impasse.
In an address on national television late on Tuesday, January 10, Jammeh lashed out “at unprecedented level of foreign interference in our elections and internal affairs and also a sustained smear campaign, propaganda and misinformation”.
Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari are expected to visit Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Friday, January 13, with hopes of bringing a diplomatic end to the impasse.
In his TV address, Jammeh attacked ECOWAS, the UN Security Council and the African Union – all bodies that have urged him to respect the election result – for taking “unprecedented and hasty resolutions against our republic and constitution”.
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He also appealed for patience, asking Gambians to “await the Supreme Court review and ruling on the election results”.
On Tuesday, January 10, the Supreme Court postponed a ruling on a possible re-run of the presidential election until May, casting further doubt on whether a peaceful political transition will happen on January 19 when Barrow is scheduled to take office.
According to a report by Al Jazeera Jammeh had nominated his chief justice to be a mediator in the crisis. Jammeh is not ready to concede defeat; he said that there will be a peaceful resolution in the days to come but gives no explanation as to how this is going to come about.
Jammeh said the mediation should be with all stakeholders in order to find a peaceful resolution.
In his speech, Jammeh who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, did not budge on his refusal to acknowledge Barrow as winner of the election.
Jammeh said: “I believe we can ask Gambians to come together to resolve this and any other matter without undue external interference.”
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The president also called for no arrests for actions relating to the pre and post-election period, without specifying what such acts would be under the law.
Meanwhile, the senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has assured Nigerians that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government is ‘on standby’ to evacuate Nigerians in the Gambia if the need arises.
Dabiri-Erewa disclosed this on January 9, while responding to a Twitter user’s question on what the government was doing to rescue Nigerians in that country from harm.
Watch the video of President Yahya Jammeh below: