After negotiations by West African regional bloc, ECOWAS with Gambia’s long time dictator Yahya Jammeh failed, the regional leaders held a meeting on Saturday in Mali, Bamako to agree to a definitive next plan of action to resolve the political impasse in the country. The Franco-African summit was attended by President-Elect Adama Barrow where he will met with over 30 African leaders and the French President Francois Hollande who attended the summit there. The leaders said they hope that Gambia’s Yahya jammeh will step down peacefully when the president-elect is to take office next week Thursday.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said much of the summit’s focus was on Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh has said he will not give up power after 22 years, despite losing the 1st December presidential election to opposition coalition’s Adama Barrow.
Leaders from the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, said no deal had been reached Friday after mediation efforts in Gambia. Contrary to the just appointed information minister Seedy Njie’s statement, the ECOWAS has said it would consider military action if Jammeh does not step down.
Jammeh has made it clear he will not stand aside until the country’s Supreme Court rules on his legal challenge, which seeks to annul the result of last month’s polls, which he had initially conceded. The supreme court may not sit till May this year.
Barrow flew to Bamako unexpectedly after holding crisis talks in Banjul with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ghana’s former president John Mahama has said has said Jammeh could be considered a rebel leader after Jan. 19, when his inauguration will take place.
There are just three days now left in Jammeh’s five-year term, but he warned the international community on Tuesday against “undue external interference”.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, said on Friday that ECOWAS would ask the Security Council to approve the deployment of troops to Gambia if Jammeh refuses to cede power.
Meanwhile, President Keita, said ECOWAS and much of Africa, hopes that “the torch will peacefully be passed on.” The French President, Hollande said Dec. 1 election results must be respected, pointing out that Gambia’s president-elect was welcomed to the summit. “Everything must be done so that on Jan. 18, or effectively by Jan. 19, he can take office,” Hollande said.