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Jammeh must leave office for Barrow Jan 19, Ecowas vows

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The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has reiterated its earlier vow that President of the Republic of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh must desert office come 19th January, 2017.

The recent commitment was contained in the final communique of Fiftieth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.

The communique from the Ordinary Session was signed in Abuja, Nigeria, on 17 December, 2016.

Drawing resolution on the situation in The Gambia, ECOWAS commission considered it bizarre that President Jammeh will reject the results of the presidential election he had earlier accepted.

The statement said in part: “The Authority has considered the worrying political situation in The Gambia arising from the decision of H. E. President Yahya Jammeh, President of the Republic of The Gambia, to reject the results of the presidential election of 1st December, 2016, which had resulted in the election of Mr Adama Barrow as the president-elect of The Gambia. 

“The Authority notes that H. E. President Yahya Jammeh had initially accepted the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission on 2 December 2016 and congratulated the new President-elect before his volte-face based on corrections to the initial results by the Electoral Commission which however did not alter the outcome of the election.”

The commission further commended H. E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government “for the efficiency with which she managed the situation in The Gambia and the firm position taken on behalf of the Authority.”

The Authority also lauded the initiative that fielded a high-level mission of Heads of State comprising President Johnson-Sirleaf, of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority, H. E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, H. E. Ernest Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, and H. E. John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana, to Banjul on 13 December 2016 to review the political situation with all stakeholders. 

The Authority called on President Jammeh to “accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect.”

The Head of States and Government further agree on the following:

a) To uphold the result of 1st December 2016 election in the Republic of The Gambia. 

b) Guarantee the Safety and protection of the President-elect Mr Adama Barrow.

c) The Head of States will attend the inauguration of the President-elect Adama Barrow who must be sworn in on 19th January 2017 in conformity with the Gambian constitution.

d) Call on the Government and Coalition Parties to show restraint in order to preserve national unity.

e) To respect the will of the Gambian people as expressed by the Presidential election results of 1st December 2016;

f) That His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will serve as the Mediator in the Gambia and H. E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana as the co-chair. The mediation process shall be conducted on the basis of terms agreed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government;

g) Requests the endorsement of the AU and the UN on all decisions taken on the matter of The Gambia and also requests their support for the mediation efforts of ECOWAS including the provision of technical assistance where required;

h) The Authority shall take all necessary measures to strictly enforce the results of the 1st December 2016 elections; 

Finally, the Authority encouraged all stakeholders, within and outside The Gambia, to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law and ensure the peaceful transfer of power. 

It also called on the Gambian defence and security forces to perform their role in a nationalistic manner and protect lives and property and particularly that of the newly elected President Adama Barrow.  

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