Barrow leaves Gambia with Buhari, other West African leaders

President Muhammadu Buhari and other West African leaders have tactically taken Gambia’s president-elect, Adama Barrow, into safety after a botched attempt to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to voluntarily cede power after he lost the 1 December election.

Mr. Jammeh’s tenure ends January 19. And both ECOWAS and the AU have said he would cease to be leader of West Africa’s smallest country by January 20.

President Buhari flew out of Banjul with Mr. Barrow on Friday, en route to Mali, for what was called crisis talks in hopes of ending the nation’s political impasse. Thousands of Gambians themselves are leaving the country over fears of a possible military intervention to resolve the impasse.

Reports say the president-elect would remain in neighbouring Senegal until inauguration day when West African leaders would escort him to Banjul swearing-in.

The Nigerian President had led a three-nation delegation to Banjul earlier in the day, which his foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, admitted had not succeeded in getting Mr. Jammeh to step down.

Mr. Jammeh has made clear he will not stand aside until the country’s Supreme Court decides on his legal challenge seeking to annul the results of last month’s polls, which he initially conceded losing.

The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), a 15-nation bloc, has repeatedly called on Mr. Jammeh to respect the result of the vote that delivered Mr. Barrow to victory, and step down after 22 years in power.

“The ECOWAS team has decided to depart Banjul tonight in the company of president-elect Barrow headed for Bamako, Mali,” Nigeria’s foreign minister Onyeama told journalists.

Ghana’s former president John Mahama; Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Mr. Buhari have spent the last month attempting to cajole Mr. Jammeh into ceding the presidency.

Mr. Onyeama expressed West Africa’s “determination to find a peaceful solution that accords with the constitution of The Gambia and also reflects the will of the Gambian people,” and said this was best served by Barrow meeting representatives from all ECOWAS member nations.

West African heads of state gathered in Bamako for the Africa-France summit on Saturday.

The African Union said there would be “serious consequences” for Jammeh, without elaborating, if violence or disorder were to break out as a result of the deadlock.

And Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, said Friday that ECOWAS would ask the security council to approve the deployment of troops to The Gambia if Mr. Jammeh refuses to cede power.

There are just five days left of JMr. ammeh’s five-year term, but he warned the international community on Tuesday that “undue external interference” was unnecessary.

The Supreme Court is unlikely to sit and hear his legal challenge before May, ratcheting up tensions with Mr. Barrow, whose inauguration is due Thursday.

GAMBIANS FLEEING

Meanwhile the prolonged political uncertainty and fear of unrest has pushed thousands of Gambians across the border into neighbouring Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau.

Tibna Sambe Na Wana, the national coordinator for Guinea-Bissau’s refugee commission, said more than 1,000 Gambians had crossed into the country, where they do not require a visa, in recent days.

“It is clear that the total number is far higher than a thousand and rising daily,” Na Wana said.

Women, children and the elderly made up the greatest numbers, the official said, with more than 500 passing one border post near the town of Jegue in three days.

“They say they are scared of a military escalation,” Na Wana added.

In Senegal, the UN’s refugee agency said “several thousand people” had crossed into the southern Casamance region from The Gambia, especially children.

Senegal and The Gambia have deep ethnic and linguistic ties, and most families have relatives living across the border.

“Most arrivals in Senegal are Gambians and Senegalese who have been working or living in The Gambia,” said Liz Ahua, UNHCR’s representative for West Africa in Dakar, but added Africans from several other nations were also crossing.

A nation of fewer than two million people, The Gambia already accounts for the highest number of migrants per capita of any nationality crossing the Mediterranean on smugglers’ boats to Italy.

The effects of the crisis were further scrutinised across the continent in Addis Ababa, where the African Union (AU) declared it would no longer recognise President Jammeh as head of state on January 19, regardless of the Supreme Court case.

Citing “the inviolable nature of the outcome of the presidential elections held on 1 December 2016 in The Gambia,” the AU called on Mr. Jammeh to respect the constitution and cede power to Barrow on that date.

Mr. Jammeh has said he wants to wait for the Supreme Court to sit and hear his case, but the Gambian Bar Association said Friday his term could not legally be extended except through a referendum altering the constitution.

The president has few allies and has faced almost universal condemnation for clinging to his post.

The Nigerian House of Representatives said Thursday the country should consider offering him asylum.

NAN/AFP


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  • Repost by Popular Demand

    Jammeh rejects BUHARI’s mediation

    PRESIDENT YAHYA JAMMEH has today rebuffed President Buhari’s mediation and vowed to stay put
    as President of The Gambia until the Supreme Court hears his election petition later in May and
    declares otherwise. President Jammeh’s lawyers had filed an application at the Supreme court
    of The Gambia yesterday, asking that an injunction be issued to stop swearing-in ceremony
    of anyone as the duly elected president on the 19th of this month, as previously scheduled.
    President Yahya Jammeh has thus rejected any suggestion of taking up asylum in Nigeria.

    Reports say
    Nigerians are being laughed off in several diplomatic circles around Africa
    as ignorant people usually led by a slew of ignoramuses self-described as
    “statesmen”. The current crisis in The Gambia is being openly ascribed to
    the ignorant leadership of OLUSEGUN OBASANJO of Nigeria who’d set terrible
    precedent of offering asylum under international law (which provisions
    Obasanjo himself does not even understand
    ) to ex-President of Liberia,
    Charles Taylor, only for Olusegun Obasanjo to later set Charles Taylor up for
    arrest and extradition to the International Criminal Court. That was the lowest
    point of disgrace for Nigeria in the history of international affairs.

    • Repost by Popular Demand

      (2)……Jammeh rejects BUHARI’s mediation

      General Olusegun Obasanjo, as President of Nigeria, totally messed up the
      meaning of diplomacy by putting the asylee (Charles Taylor) in a security car
      in Calabar, Cross Rivers state; drove him a distance of 1,286 kilometers by road
      to the borders of Nigeria in the town of Gamboru-Ngala in far north-east state of
      Borno, and told him to escape from there on foot, only for the same Nigerian
      officials to suddenly turn round and arrested Charles Taylor on false charges
      of his “trying to escape”.

      The Nigerian security officials put Charles Taylor under close arrest; virtually
      shackled him and flew him like a prisoner to the International Criminal Court
      via Liberia. That was the moment Nigeria fell into disgrace in international
      circles as a result of Olusegun Obasanjo’s ignorant misrule. For fear of
      another country following Olusegun Obasanjo’s illiterate understanding of
      diplomacy
      , President Yahaya Jameh of The Gambia refused any offer of
      asylum, especially from Nigeria, following Olusegun Obasanjo’s crass,
      uninformed, uneducated and village-level understanding of diplomacy.

      • Harry

        Charles Taylor was a murderer and criminal, there was no way he would go free. He’s in jail now and he will rot there; period!

  • Phil Oliha

    The West African heads of state should not feel shy to eat apple pie when necessary.

    They got ahead of themselves on this Gambian election and made spurious demands.

    President Buhari of Nigeria was the worse culpable to interpose himself as mediator.

    When an election petition is pending hearing at a Supreme Court mediation is illegal.

    It is for lack of knowledge that the Foreign Ministry led President Buhari astray on that.

    • Harry

      U seem to be ignorant of transition. A pending election petition does not mean an incumbent president who lost an election would not handover. An election petition is a continuous process, which may take several months or years to conclude. Jammeh needs to hand over first, then when the election petition is concluded and the verdict favors him, then the outcome would be implemented. Jammeh cannot hold on to power when his constitutional mandate has expired, and he cannot use the election petition that is pending to hold on to power, because, the election petition verdict may as well not go his way though.

      • B.Obok

        @Harry5050:disqus

        No, sir. You are wrong. @Phil Oliha is right. There is no jurisdiction to MEDIATE an election petition
        already filed at the Gambian Supreme Court, because no committee of Ecowas is allowed to take a
        a decision one way or the other on whether Mr. Barrow was validly elected as president of Gambia
        at the just-concluded election in The Gambia. You are also wrong on the other point you’ve raised.
        It is implied that since no invalidly elected person can be sworn in as the president of The Gambia,
        President Jammeh is to lawfully stay in office until the Supreme Court makes a final determination.

        • Harry

          Mr. Barrow was declared the winner of the election by the Gambia electoral commission, what nonsense are u still talking about here?

      • CeeCee1818

        Thank you Harry.

    • dareolu1

      sorry, you are talking rubbish…….anyway, Harry has replied you, no need to comment about your mentions of Buhari…..just clueless

  • C.Law

    @Phil Oliha:

    WHAT THE CONSTITUTION of The Gambia Says……

    “This constitution is the supreme Law of The Gambia and any other law found to be inconsistent
    with any provision of this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. (§ 2 [4] ).
    The Supreme Court shall have an exclusive original jurisdiction – on any question as to whether
    or not any person was validly elected to the office of President. (§ 127 [1] [c]).

    The Gambia shall not-

    (a) enter into any engagement with any other country which causes it to lose its sovereignty
    without the matter first being put to a referendum and passed by such majority as may be
    prescribed by an Act of the National assembly.”

    • Rommel

      Laws are not written in isolation and cannot be interpreted in a vacuum, what did the constitution of the Gambia provide for in such cases as we are faced with today? is it same case with Congo where the law says until a new president is elected,an incumbent would remain on seat,does the constitution of the Gambia make such provision? if not,by what authority would Jammeh continue to be president when his constitutionally mandated tenure expires at midnight of 18th January?

  • Rommel

    The reality of the situation is that whether supreme court or no supreme court,Jammeh ceases to be president of the Gambia on the midnight of the 18th January,nothing in the constitution of the Gambia keeps him on the seat after this date.It must be noted that he has never claimed that he won the elections,what he is asking the court to do is to nullify the election and until it is granted,the election remains valid.This is the ground upon which Adama Barrow would be sworn in as president of the Gambia and would remain until the supreme court nullifies the election if they have enough reasons to do so.

  • Rominiyis

    this type of effort should have been used to solve major West African issue of refugees trooping to Libya en route europe only to drown in the mideterreanean sea’

    • Malik Isah

      dumb, very dumb

      • Rominiyis

        Thus Ecowas leaders cooperating to prevent economic refugees killing themselves by attempting to cross the ocean in Libya where just yesterday 100 people died making the attempt is dumb by your reasoning?
        clearly you lack intellectual capacity to make reasonable judgements and you demonstrate poor education and also very rude. possibly ignorant since you provide no basis for your judgement.

      • Rominiyis

        European News ….

        “Over the previous 24 hours alone, coastguard and naval ships had saved about 750 migrants from rubber and wooden boats in the central Mediterranean, Deutsche Welle reported.

        Last year was marked as the deadliest on record, with over 5,000 refugees drowned, suffocated or crushed while trying to cross the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, according to the UN figures, as quoted by AFP.

        In 2016, the number of Mediterranean migrants, mainly from West Africa, also reached a record high, topping 181,000 people, the EU rescue operation Frontex said.”.

      • Baba B

        Extremely dumb

  • Kofi Mensah

    We trust that jammeh will tread the path of wisdom.

    • CeeCee1818

      I like that Mahama has been part of the team that has been trying to talk some sense into him.

      • Kofi Mensah

        Sure. Live example for him to follow.

  • JasV

    This House of Reps or Thieves can not be trusted for asylum just as Charles Taylor trusted obasanjo only to end up in the belly of Olumo rock in Hague.

    • CeeCee1818

      Good. Hague or he’ll await him.

  • smart G

    At the end of the uprising , thousands will die and many properties destroyed.
    Gambia may never remain the same.
    Even Barrow will not repair the damage in 8 years.
    Why not allow Jammeh continue to avert all these if his human rights record is manageable…..afteralll he will leave office one day.

    • CeeCee1818

      Is that you Jammeh? Have you lost your mind? Get it through your thick skull HE LOST! Step down or better yet go jump in a lake, disappear forever!

    • okenwa

      I only want my gambian brothers to leave gambia before these blood thirsty demons that call themselves leaders will pounce on them.

  • Kill Korruption

    “When the wicked spring up like grass, and the worker of iniquity flourish, it is so they may be destroyed forever” Psalm 92:7
    Yahaya Jahmeh’s is being adamant in wickedness and flourishing in intransigence because of this one divinely ordained purpose: that he may be destroyed forever. His cup is full before the Almighty Yahweh.

    • CeeCee1818

      Good one KK! I worry for the ordinary citizens who are in no position to up and leave the country for a few days until Jammeh is no more. Praying that all goes well for the country.

      • M.S Takoradi

        @killkorruption:disqus

        But till today too President Buhari cannot mention one single law
        that President Jammeh has violated. So, why do any nonsense invasion plan?
        The issue President Jammeh took before the Supreme Court is cogent and solid.
        The Electoral Commission of Gambia issued and signed two conflicting results.
        President Jammeh wants a court review to infer invalidity and illegality in effect.

        • CeeCee1818

          Jammeh lost the election! What more do you want? Gambians spoke loud and clearly through the ballot box. Jammeh is violating people’s will and for that he must be punished.

          • Questo

            @ceecee1818:disqus

            You well so? @Ms Takoradi said Jammeh has not broken any law and you now say
            Jammeh lost the election. You well at all? Losing election is an offence? Jammeh
            went to court to show that the ELECTION COMMISSION issued two separate
            results. So, how can you know which of the two results to believe before
            you can then know who has really won the election in Gambia?

          • Pat

            Definitely the court should decide but the one that the electoral body of the country announced and had been congratulated by the incumbent should be sworn in based on their timetable while the court battle continues.

        • Irumundomon

          To stay another 22 years more, why don’t he just buy the country and give Gambians, cirtifucate of ownership. That will make you happy, name one successful nation, where a president stays in office for 22 years, grow up and dish that constitution that lost it’s value long ago.

        • Baba B

          And the same Supreme Court is saying they can’t sit till May, so are you suggesting he remains in power till then?

          • okenwa

            Yes instead of killing innocent cittizens or better still buhari and other ecowas leaders should first evacuate all gambians and foreigners before the millitary envasion as they have done to barrow.

          • Mufu Ola

            Funny suggestion.How do u evacuate entire citizentry? Haba!

          • okenwa

            Then kill them because of one man whom you will eventually kill or arrested and put in prison.

  • Rominiyis

    5000 Refugees Drowned last year attempting to reach Europe via ocean at Libya. They were mainly from West Africa
    Including many Gambians. In the last 24hrs over 100 drown according to European News. This tragedy call for immediate Ecowas intervention.

  • Irumundomon

    Africans should use this as a test case, that never again, one man or woman, can take Africans for granted.

  • El Patron

    I like the fact that Africans, especially West Africans are taking care of an African problem. We must all come together and make ECOWAS and AU very solid. We don’t need any help from the west

  • ‘Obiageli Ezekwesili’ the problem not the solution, ignore the man looking junk yard dog failure has become her.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    So Mr. Wise man Buhari is taking the President elect into hiding so that he could be President in absentia. Ha. Africans. Jammeh will attend the next AU meeting, whenever it happens, and he would be accorded a full welcome.

    • Baba B

      My conclusion is that you must be extremely daft if indeed you read the story and still put up this trash. Please kindly note that critical thinking is not a natural endowment every one has and you obviously fall in the category of people who should not dabble into this.

    • okenwa

      And buhari thinks mr barrow’s life is more important than the life of thousands if not millions they are about to kill.

      • Mufu Ola

        At the moment,that’s d most sensible action to take. Think deeply about it!

    • Mufu Ola

      Very daft comment you made.Is it compulsory for you to post comment?