I stand by Jammeh, Gambian Army Chief says

President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia

Ousman Badjie, Gambia’s army chief, has reaffirmed his loyalty to embattled President Yahya Jammeh, as the deadline given by the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS gets closer.

“May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces,” Mr. Badjie, a general, wrote in a letter to Mr. Jammeh published today in a pro-government newspaper.

Mr. Jammeh initially accepted his defeat in the December 1 election, but a week later reversed his position, vowing to hang on to power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS has placed standby forces on alert in case Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19.

Mr. Jammeh has called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war”.

Many Gambians, who have lived through 22 years of Mr. Jammeh’s increasingly authoritarian rule, were stunned when the elections commission declared opposition figure Adama Barrow the winner of last month’s election.

Mr. Jammeh’s initial acceptance of the result sparked nationwide celebrations.

Mr. Badjie declared his allegiance to Mr. Barrow soon after the poll results were announced, according to a spokesperson for the president-elect.

However his position remained unclear following Mr. Jammeh’s dramatic about-face.

In an illustration of the growing pressure on Gambian officials as the January 19 deadline looms, Alieu Momarr Njai, the head of the elections commission, fled Gambia on Friday due to fears for his security, family members said.

Last month, Gambian security forces seized control of the commission’s headquarters, which holds the original poll records and told staff, including Mr. Njai, to leave.

Over the weekend Gambian security agents closed three private radio stations, making it harder for the incoming government to communicate with its supporters.

“It is a sign of weakness for any side of the political spectrum to resort to media closures rather than engagement to put one’s position across,” Mr. Barrow’s office said on Wednesday in a statement that also called for the release of detainees.

Leaders of ECOWAS member nations have dismissed Mr. Jammeh’s move to challenge his election defeat before Gambia’s Supreme Court on January 10 and say they will attend Mr. Barrow’s swearing-in this month.


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    WHERE I STAND – President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia

    “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)

    • TC

      Your point is?

  • Sule

    I pity the Army Chief. When it goes down, he and Jammeh will be in handcuffs en-route Hague for crime against humanity.

  • Raymond

    Jammeh will go down like Gbagbo…we won’t mind whatever it costs.