Gambia: Jammeh accuses Buhari, other West African leaders of declaring war

Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh
Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

For asking him to step down for a democratically elected president, the Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, has accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country.

Mr. Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of  putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a December 1 election to rival Adama Barrow.

He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.

The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him. His mandate runs out on January 19.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how President Muhammadu Buhari led other West African leaders to meet with Messrs. Jammeh and Barrow.  Apart from Mr. Buhari, the ECOWAS delegation also had Presidents Ernest Koroma, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and John Mahama of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana respectively.

The leaders appealed to Mr. Jammeh to leave office and also reportedly sought a ‘honourable exit’ for him that would ensure he is not tried for various human rights crimes he is alleged to have committed while in office.

Despite the visit, Mr. Jammeh remained defiant.

Marcel de Souza, the ECOWAS Commission president, said last week that the body had put standby forces on alert.

In his speech on New Year Day, Mr. Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of December 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible.”

He apparently acknowledged again that the poll did not go in his favour.

“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution.

“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression.

“My government will never opt for such confrontation but defending our sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians,” he said.

Mr. Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was initially seen as a moment of hope on a continent where autocratic leaders are becoming more entrenched.

Mr. Buhari has stepped in as an ECOWAS mediator to offer Mr. Jammeh an “honourable exit”, but the latter said the bloc could no longer fulfil that role.


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  • Truthometer

    Unfortunately, Jammeh seems determined to go to Hague in shackles.

    • Evelyn

      He is surely saying all these rubbish cos Gambia was not French colony like Ivory Coast where France would easily step in as in the case of Gbagbo! He knows the resolution of ECOWAS could be compromised or delayed at best! Am sure this is what he is trying to exploit and all stakeholders must be conscious of this by putting more pressure on ECOWAS leaders so they could act decisively!

      • alonso

        One way I believe these problems can be eradicated, is by African countries amending their respective constitutions to include a presidential term in office. For example, no president shall run for a third term for office. Remember, absolute power corrupts the mind of anyone, being a leader or not.

    • TTT news centre

      President Jammeh of The Gambia’s New Year address……

      “Let me make very clear, we are ready to defend this country
      against any aggression. If Ecowas did not back down the impasse will
      continue with the risk of escalation into a military confrontation. What
      we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and
      allow the Gambians to elect who they want to be their president in a free and
      fair election. What is clearly incontrovertible is the decision of ECOWAS to
      implement the results of the December 1st 2016 election results by whatever
      means possible.

      It is totally illegal as it violates the principle of non-interference in the
      internal affairs of member states, which is an entrenched clause in the
      Ecowas treaty. ‘It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our Constitution.
      It is therefore absolutely unacceptable. This blatant, partial and one-dimensional
      approach clearly indicates that the role of Ecowas is not predicated on the pursuit
      of justice in the resolution of this stalemate”.

      ……………President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia

      (January 1st, 2017)

      • Omoba1

        What election again? The one he can rig and intimidate the electorate. Please someone should tell him that even after the recount he lost so what’s his problem.

        At this moment I wonder what’s the mentality of the armed forces in Gambia. They should not allow Jammeh force them into a war that they ultimately know they will lose.

    • CeeCee1818

      Good. He can go fry!

  • STRANGE

    But lets be frank for once. How can a killer man – Buhari be on that team to negotiate peace in Gambia. It is nauseating to say the least – that Buhari who has supervised the mass murders and mass burial of peaceful Biafran protesters and Shit Muslims in procession is the one on a team or as I hear even leading a team of negotiators for peace. Can demons cast out demons?

    • Musbau Hamzat

      How many of your relatives he has killed?

  • bigbang

    Diplomacy is the only solution. We need a mediator that he trusts. Negotiate a peaceful transition. A promise that he won’t be prosecuted among other concessions like leaving the ICC and the common wealth.

  • Amin

    but the ecowas shouldnt have simply called him out. they should have look at the electoral results and make concrete decision without minding whose ox is gored. what if mr.jammeh is right, what if the election wasnt transparent and fair? anyway, blood of the innocents should not be spilled for whatever reason please.

    • alonso

      Amin, I believe Jammeh should let go the presidency for the sake of peace and saving his people, if he truly loves them. After all, he initially accepted the result as being free and fair and the will of Allah. Why the sudden change of mind? We need piece in Africa

  • Otile

    Shame on ECOWAS. Killer Buhari is not that exemplary to negotiate peace. Did Buhari not threaten to spill blood on the streets if he lost election? If Jona did not whimp out don’t you know that Buhari would have invaded the SE to kill Igbo people?

    • CeeCee1818

      Jammeh the people have spoken!

    • Your just a Cow. You will die of your hatred. Our President is an honourable man and no amount of falsehood & bad belle from you and your corrupt sponsors can change that fact. Keep hating until it consumes you. You can’t change Gods wish xx Sai Buhari 2019 & beyond

      • Otile

        Counter my point with a reasonable argument, not insults and name calling, not Sai Barbarian forever.

  • CeeCee1818

    Jammeh you have 18 days left before you’re Gbagborized.

  • Omotolaaraujo

    SNYPER!

  • Alpachino

    All you guys are saying is rubbish. ECOWAS has asked buhari to release dasuki and he told them bullshit and now the same ecowas thinks they can act differently in Gambia. Watching in 9D.

  • kinsly

    Someone should tell these guy that Sambisa is down and we can afford to send a Brigade of troops to with support of a Senegalese Division to enforce the outcome of the Election results.

  • Edafe

    Too surprising that most Nigerians that normally champion the crusades of fight against corruption or even call other people to be corrupt does not even know the meaning of corruption.

  • share Idea

    In as much as I am not a fan of Buhari, I urge him never to relent in ensuring that new president is sworn in on 20th January. Even if it means sending Nigerian soldiers there, I am in full support. African leaders must respect the santity of the ballot box.

  • eyobaba

    Assuming it is Buhari who refuses to step down and handover power. In case of losing the 2019 election, will ecowas be able to summon enough military force to compel Buhari to hand over power. Just thinking, might is sweet and bullying