Gambian Police arrest Ex-President Jammeh’s intelligence chief and his deputy.

The Police have arrested Gambia’s former head of the national intelligence agency and his deputy, part of President Adama Barrow’s attempts to re-establish democracy in the small West African nation, a police spokesperson said Wednesday.

Spy chief Yankuba Badjie and director of operations Omar Jeng were detained on Monday and being investigated for potential abuses of power, spokesman Foday Conta told dpa.

Mr. Badjie took over at the intelligence agency in 2013, with Mr. Jeng as his deputy.

During this time, the intelligence agency carried out kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, torture, killings and rape, according to international human rights activists.

Mr. Barrow has released dozens of opposition activists from prison since he took office on January 19, replacing Yahya Jammeh, who had ruled the Islamic Republic for the previous 22 years with an iron fist.

Mr. Jammeh caused weeks of political impasse by refusing to accept the result of the December presidential election.

After weeks of regional pressure and the threat of arrest by West African troops that had entered Gambia, Mr. Jammeh eventually conceded defeat and went into exile in Equatorial Guinea.


Source: NAN

Ex-president Jammeh’s supporters arrested as tensions flare in Gambia

Gambian police said they arrested 51 people in a former stronghold of ex-president Yahya Jammeh for harassing followers of new leader Adama Barrow, amid lingering tensions following Mr. Jammeh’s flight into exile.

Mr. Jammeh narrowly lost a December 1 election to Mr. Barrow after 22 years of authoritarian rule.

Mr. Jammeh initially refused to step down but fled to Equatorial Guinea last month as international military forces descended on the capital Banjul to uphold the election result.

The 51 people were arrested on Sunday in the western town of Kafenda, a Jammeh stronghold, for insulting people returning from Mr. Barrow’s inauguration celebration at the national stadium on Saturday, said police spokesperson Foday Conta.

Some threw stones, Mr. Conta added.

Twenty-six of the arrested were juveniles and were released on bail, while 25 were being detained pending an investigation, Mr. Conta said.

A spokesman for the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), Mr. Jammeh’s party when he was in power, said those arrested were APRC supporters and were wearing t-shirts bearing an image of Jammeh’s face.

“They were provoked by the supporters of the coalition (Barrow’s party) who … were calling Jammeh all sorts of names and saying he was a killer. Then a quarrel ensued,” said spokesperson Seedy Njie.

Human rights groups accuse Mr. Jammeh of torturing and killing opponents during his time in power. Mr. Barrow has pledged to reverse many of Mr. Jammeh’s policies, including arbitrary detention.

Mr. Barrow vowed in his Saturday speech to enact sweeping reforms including bolstering a weakened economy.


Source: Reuters

Killer dog put down after death of Gambia president’s son.

A dog that killed the son of Gambian President Adama Barrow has been put down, an agriculture ministry source said, with mystery over the circumstances sparking witchcraft rumours amid political turmoil in the country.

Eight-year-old Habibou, one of Barrow’s five children, died after the attack last month, days before his father’s contested inauguration at a time when then-president Yahya Jammeh was refusing to step down.

Jammeh’s refusal to cede power to Barrow, who won a December election, triggered a crisis in the small west African nation, before the longtime leader eventually agreed to hand over the reins to his successor and leave the country.

The dog was put down on Tuesday, the source in the veterinary unit of the department of agriculture told AFP Wednesday, on condition of anonymity.

“We concluded that it was not wise to allow this dog to continue roaming in the streets. We carried out some test and realised that the dog is not infected with rabies,” the source said.

Barrow returned to The Gambia last week to a jubilant welcome marking the beginning of the west African nation’s first democratic transfer of power.

He had been living in Senegal for safety reasons since mid-January.

Jammeh went into exile in Equatorial Guinea under threat of regional military intervention.


Source: AFP

Yahya Jammeh will be ‘allowed to keep’ luxury car collection – Barrow

Gambian ex-president Yahya Jammeh will be allowed to keep his collection of 13 luxury cars and fly them out to his exiled home in Equatorial Guinea, a spokesman for new president Adama Barrow said Tuesday.Barrow’s spokesman confirmed to AFP an agreement had been struck to facilitate Jammeh’s exit on Saturday in order to end a weeks-long impasse caused by the ex-leader’s refusal to recognise Barrow’s election victory.


“What is very clear is that arrangements were made and the government was fully prepared and supportive of ex-president Jammeh to leave and as a result they found it is better to leave with all his properties instead of coming down and checking properties,” spokesman Halifa Sallah told AFP.

An airport source who saw the cargo being prepared on Saturday night when Jammeh flew out of the country said “two Rolls Royce and one (Mercedes) Benz” were loaded onto a Chadian cargo plane, while others await shipment.The spokesman added that the decision was also aimed at minimising return visits by Jammeh. “He leaves with all his properties so he is not coming up and down to check,” Sallah said.


Another Barrow spokesman had alluded angrily to the luxury cars on Sunday, but did not say that the new president had agreed that Jammeh could leave with them.


As of Tuesday, the source added, “10 cars” were still earmarked for future shipment, which diplomats and others familiar with the matter confirmed included a Bentley, Land Rovers, a red Mini Cooper, and another Mercedes.


“No information or orders have been given by this new government to stop shipping the cars,” the airport source told AFP.


He described Jammeh’s entourage as struggling between the choice of two larger Bentleys or three smaller cars, eventually opting for the Mercedes and the Rolls Royces on the night he left the country.


“They were trying to check which one fits. If they took the bigger cars they could only take two,” he said.


The news is likely to anger Gambians who have also learnt Jammeh took off with $11 million of state funds, leaving the coffers nearly empty.


An “entry-level” Rolls Royce costs $250,000, and most Gambians live on less than $2 a day.

Barrow names Jammeh’s ex-minister Fatoumata Tambajang as vice-president

President Adama Barrow has appointed Fatoumata Tambajang as vice-president, Halifa Sallah, his spokesman, disclosed on Monday.


Tambajang once served as minister of health under former President Yahya Jammeh.


Tambajang is a prominent pro-democracy activist. She was the driving force behind forming a coalition of opposition parties that rallied behind Barrow during the December 1 presidential election.


Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, where he took his oath of office, will return to Gambia on Tuesday.


He is returning to the country after the exit of Jammeh who initially refused to cede power.


Jammeh has gone on exile, but Barrow rejected a proposal by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to protect Jammeh from prosecution.


Mankeur Ndiaye, Senegalese foreign minister, confirmed “no deal’’ had been negotiated with Jammeh, who ruled the small West African nation for 22 years with an iron fist.


Barrow has said he plans to establish a commission to investigate potential wrongdoing by Jammeh, who spent weeks trying to overturn the result of the presidential election.

REUBEN ABATI: Once upon a time in Gambia

I have very vivid memories of my last visit to The Gambia. This was in 2013 when President Goodluck Jonathan paid a two-day visit to the country. In the course of that visit, President Jonathan commissioned the new Chancery of the Nigerian Embassy in Banjul, and also met with the Nigerian community, in addition to the usual bilateral meetings. Nigeria and The Gambia have very strong cultural and diplomatic relations.


We were quartered at a very nice, hospitable sea-side hotel, the Coco Ocean Resort. One of the first things I noticed was the large population of female tourists, lounging by the pool-side and the sea-side, with biceps-wielding, six-packs-flaunting young dark-skinned men on the prowl, with gigolo-ish gait and mien.


A female member of our entourage who had gone to the restaurant alone, later returned – visibly shaken and alarmed and what was her problem: one of the male ushers in the hotel had asked her if she would need a man to keep her company so she could have a real taste of Gambian hospitality.


We laughed over it later, but you could not but wonder whether this was one of the reasons why The Gambia holds a special attraction for middle-aged ladies from Europe. There was no time to conduct further research into that aspect of our encounter with The Gambia. I was far too busy for that. But there was no doubt that The Gambia under President Yahya Jammeh took the country’s tourism endowments seriously: a beautiful seaside, good weather, low crime rate, good hotels, beautiful women, adventurous young men, and a meek populace.


President Yahya Jammeh was determined to give President Jonathan and his delegation a good reception. From the airport to the hotel, you would think a festival was afoot. A public holiday was declared and our visit was aired live on radio and television. When we got to the hotel, President Jonathan’s vehicle was immediately serenaded by a cavalcade of horse-riders and a full band of drummers, singers and bag-pipers in colourful costume. They led our convoy to the Presidential suite, where security had been heavily deployed in fitting recognition of the importance of the visitor.


President Jammeh like virtually every other West African President took a special liking to President Jonathan- the only one who was aloof and liked to act like the father of everyone was that one in Cameroon, although I must say when we went there for a security summit, he received us excellently well too.


We felt very much at home in The Gambia. We were kept in rooms that were a bit far away from the President. And whenever that happened, the aides were always excited. It meant we could have a little more freedom away from the searching eyes of the security people around the President. And those ones, I will tell their story someday because they were fond of disturbing other matters of state and personal interest by suddenly interrupting with calls: “Oga dey call you, Oga says you must come now, now” only to get to the big man and he tells you, “No, I didn’t ask after you.”


By the time you hang around for a while, just in case the big man would change his mind, whatever plan you were pursuing would have been aborted, or seeing you, the boss would find an assignment for you or drag you into a meeting. Angry, deflated, you went to the security man who made the phone call: “But you said Oga sent for me.” Those guys always managed a poker face: “But you know it is always good to stay around Oga in case he needs you.”


I was impressed by Jammeh’s hospitality and respectful disposition towards President Jonathan. I recall that in 2012, when President Jammeh tried to succeed President Jonathan as chairman of the ECOWAS Authority, his own colleagues, including President Jonathan, opposed him. He rarely attended ECOWAS meetings.


His then Vice President, the motherly, regal and polite Isatou Njie-Saidy always occupied The Gambian seat. But he usually showed up when a new Chairman was to be elected. Seniority is something that is taken seriously within the club of African Presidents.


They refer to themselves as “my brother, my brother”, but they are always very mindful of seniority and that is one of the reasons why the likes of Paul Biya, Robert Mugabe, Yoweri Museveni, Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo behave and speak as if they are God in human form. Each time Jammeh wanted the ECOWAS chairmanship position, he behaved as if it was his birthright, but in 2012, and again in 2014, he was bypassed for junior Presidents as had been the case since he first expressed interest in the position in 2001. He was the only long-serving President who was never allowed to chair ECOWAS.


He must have been aware of President Jonathan and Nigeria’s stand on the question of his chairmanship, but he never held it against both. In fact, Nigeria and Nigerians were so influential in The Gambia under Jammeh, ordinary Gambians complained openly about the overwhelming influence of Nigerians in their country.


Everything went well during our state visit until it was time to meet with President Jammeh in the state house. It was part of my duty to introduce the Nigerian President’s delegation, except someone else seized the microphone and I stepped down. In The Gambia, mere protocol recognition of the President of the country ended up being a major problem.


His full titles had to be mentioned, and in a correct order in order not to upset him. The pre-meeting briefing by my Gambian counterpart dwelt too heavily on the titles: His Excellency, Sheik Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Abdul-Aziz Awal Jemus Junkung (AJJ) Jammeh Nassiru Deen Babili Mansa, President of the Republic of The Gambia.


It was something like that. The security guards were also rough and menacing. Security men often do not understand the language of diplomacy. We went to many countries where we were treated roughly and our own security men often threatened to retaliate if the affected country ever visited Nigeria. I don’t think we ever got a chance to retaliate because our protocol system proved to be more orderly.


The state house in The Gambia when we eventually went in, however, was quite modest. It looked like the guest house section of Aso Villa. The meetings went well too. And Jammeh, to my surprise, spoke very well. He didn’t sound like the fool he was portrayed to be in the western press. He was articulate, debonair, well-composed and mentally sharp.


I guess these are required qualities for dictatorship and crookedness. And I admired Jammeh. He is, after all, my age-mate. He sat there, in his royalty, running a country, and I was there, switching between a microphone and a notebook, documenting his history. But something else happened that gave a true picture of Jammeh’s Gambia.


Our official photographer, Callistus Ewelike (he took over from Kola Osiyemi – God bless his soul) had issues with Jammeh’s security men. Security men at state houses around the world are unfriendly towards journalists. They seek to control access. They consider journalists busybodies, looking for negative news.


Accreditation and the use of tags should ordinarily take care of this, still, the security people just prefer to misbehave, and I witnessed that even in the United States where we were treated as if the visiting media was a team of terrorists. There was no violence in the US, but in The Gambia, they seized Callistus Ewelike’s camera and smashed it. Callistus is an aggressive, stubborn photo-journalist. He would fight if you try to stop him from doing his job.


He was a staff of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) handed over to me by Ima Niboro when Kola took ill. Callistus must have resisted the Gambia goons, claiming his right as President Jonathan’s official photographer. In The Gambia under Jammeh, the President and the security agencies ruled as if there would be no tomorrow.


They trampled on everyone else’s rights. Anyone who tried to act like a free man was brutalised and dumped in prison. For 22 years, Jammeh sat on his country and his people with the help of marabouts and security enforcers. He kissed the Koran every day, but he did not act according to its dictates. He wore a trademark white garment, but his true garment was of a black colour from the kingdom of Satan.


Ewelike’s travails eventually became a full-fledged story on the second day of our visit when President Jammeh’s spokesperson and the rest of his media team started looking for me at the Coco Resort. We were to be treated to a luncheon before departure. The luncheon had started but I got cornered.


Jammeh’s spokesman brought a brand new camera to replace the one the Gambian security people had destroyed. Callistus was with me. The Gambians apologised. Apology was taken and accepted. They said they didn’t want the two Presidents to hear about the incident. I gave them my word that I would not mention it to President Jonathan. Then, they pleaded that we should accept the replacement camera they brought.


I told them not to bother – as far as we were concerned, whatever happened was occupational hazard and Nigeria would replace its own damaged equipment. I looked at Callistus. He was eyeing the new camera greedily. At a point, he called me aside and whispered: “Oga, this camera they are giving us is better than the one they smashed oh.


This one na better camera. Oga, abi make we take am?” I stood my ground. I also consulted Ambassadors Hassan Tukur and Daniel Hart who said accepting a replacement would amount to a diplomatic tit-for-tat. I thanked The Gambians for their good sense and assured them that we were fine with the photographic coverage of the visit so far, despite the damaged camera. I always had a back-up photographer and cameraman, in any case.


That encounter was a blessing in disguise. It saved me from the first course at the presidential luncheon, which had started while we were outside the hall discussing the damaged camera. When we got back to Nigeria, close to eight persons on the presidential delegation ended up in the hospital due to food poisoning! They all took that first course. Nobody died but somehow the information got back to The Gambia and the chef was arrested and charged to court.


Jammeh’s rulership of The Gambia was jinxed in many ways. The biggest jinx was his volte-face over the last presidential election. Gambians deserve a new place in the sun and a new Gambia. But so much depends on new President Adama Barrow. He should look beyond the past and face the future. If he spends his time facing the past, he will disappoint his people and exhaust the enormous goodwill that has brought him to power.

Committee Commends ECOWAS For Restoring Democracy In Gambia

The Committee For The Protection Of Peoples Mandate (CPPM), has commended the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) for what they say is a restoration of Democracy in The Gambia.


The committee revealed this in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman, Nelson Ekujumi, titled: “Kudos To Ecowas For The Restoration Of Democracy In Gambia”.


It reads:


“The Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) whole heartedly congratulates and commends the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its steadfastness and faithfulness to the sanctity of the democratic mandate of the people of Gambia as entrusted in President Adama Barrow by ensuring that ex-President Yahya Jammeh quits office involuntarily.


“We equally commend the good people of Gambia for their perseverance despite the provocative comments and actions of ex dictator Yahya Jammeh and his cronies to hang on to power by assaulting the constitution and the democratic rights of Gambians as freely expressed at the polls on December 1, 2016.


“As we rejoice with the people of Gambia over the restoration of democracy and the aversion of a needless crisis that would have been generated by the crudity of ex dictator Yahya Jammeh to cling on to power unconstitutionally and against decency and civilized conduct, may we admonish Gambians to remain faithful to democracy as the only legitimate means of determining who rules them.


“We congratulate President Adama Barrow for his tenacity in keeping faith with the mandate of the Gambian people and urge him to repay all the sacrifices put in place and endured to reclaim his mandate, both locally and internationally by ensuring the delivery of dividends of democracy to the populace.


“We view this action of ECOWAS in restoring democracy to Gambia by chasing out expired despot Yahya Jammeh as highly commendable, a victory for democracy and an unambiguous message to other despots on the African continent that the time of reckoning for assaulting the people’s right to freely choose their leader, is over.


“We are very hopeful that the laudable action of ECOWAS in Gambia would be a wake-up call to the electorates in Africa to boldly take their destiny in their thumbs to vote out despots who have underdeveloped, mismanaged and caused strife and crisis on the African continent.


“Once again, we wish President Adama Barrow and the good people of Gambia, a successful and fruitful tenure to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind.” the statement said.

U.S. commends ECOWAS, Jammeh for peaceful resolution

The U.S. has commended Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its show of leadership in peacefully ousting former president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, after weeks of political stalemate.


The U.S. Department of State, in a statement by its spokesperson, Mark Toner, also welcomed the ongoing peaceful transition in the country and the commitment to democracy by the people.


“The United States welcomes the ongoing peaceful transition of power in The Gambia and congratulates President Adama Barrow on his inauguration.


“We applaud the commitment to democracy and the restraint shown by the Gambian people over the past weeks.


“We commend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional partners for their leadership in addressing the situation,” the statement said.


The U.S. also commended Mr. Jammeh for departing The Gambia peacefully and avoiding the use of violence.


“We appreciate the decision by Yahya Jammeh to depart The Gambia peacefully.


“We also echo President Barrow’s call for Gambians to unite and work together as brothers and sisters for the future of The Gambia.


“The United States is proud of our close ties to the people of The Gambia and looks forward to working closely with President Barrow and his team to achieve the aspirations of all Gambians.”


Source: NAN

Nigerian Navy warship, NNS UNITY, arrives Dakar.

The Nigerian Navy warship, NNS UNITY, on Sunday, arrived at Dakar Sea Port to carry out the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mandate of restoring democracy in Gambia.


The Chief of Training/Operations, Defence Headquarters, Ahmed Muhammed, a Major. Gen., received the ship on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, a General.


Earlier, the Force Commander, Operation Restore Democracy in Gambia, Tajudeen Yusuf, Air Commodore, told journalists that the next operation, after the arrival of the troops into Gambia, was to get the president Adama Barrow into the country.


According to him, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has successfully conducted an aerial surveillance over Gambia.


“The ground troops have already moved into the Gambian territory, and no opposition was met. It was a peaceful movement and we were welcomed by members of the armed forces of the Gambia.


“The aim of this was to secure some key and vulnerable points, in the Gambian territory so as to create peaceful passage for the president to move in and for us to stabilize the country and eventually for its democracy to continue to thrive,’’ Mr. Yusuf said.


He explained that the war ship, which arrived on Sunday, would be incorporated immediately into the ongoing operations.


He said troops would soften their operations for now, but would be on alert to tackle any challenge that would come up.


“The former president has ruled the country for 22 years, he still has his loyalists within the armed forces and the country in general, and we cannot afford to be careless with the new president.


“We still have to do a lot of stabilization to ensure that there is peace and that he is in charge of the country before we can finally bow out,’’ he said.


Source: NAN

My love for Gambia made me step down – Yahya Jammeh

In his first address to the nation since continental leaders made practical move to forcefully eject him, Yahya Jammeh said his decision to quit was not dictated.

Making the announcement on state TV after talks with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania, Jammeh said he believed that it was not necessary to have a “single drop bloodshed”.

Ending his speech in a shaky voice, he thanked his mother, wife and children for all their prayers and support throughout the 22 years he ruled the country.

“My decision to step down wasn’t dictated by anything but in the interest of the people of Gambia,” he said.

“All this while, as a Muslim and a patriot, I believe it is not necessary that a single drop of blood be shed.

“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians.

“I promise before Allah and the entire nation that all the issues we currently face will be resolved peacefully.

“My decision today was not dictated by anything else but the supreme interest of you, the Gambian people and our dear country.

“I’m proud and honoured to have served our country, the Gambia.”

Adama Barrow, who won the December election, could not take oath of office in Gambia because of Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power.

He was sworn into office in The Gambian embassy in Senegal.

BREAKING: Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh ‘agrees’ to step down

Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down as president of The Gambia, according to reports.


Nicholas Germain, a France 24 journalist, quoted sources as saying Jammeh is currently writing a statement where he accepts to cede power.



Jammeh, who lost Gambia’s presidential election to Adama Barrow, initially accepted defeat and congratulated his opponents, but changed his mind and decided to challenge the outcome of the election.


Attempts by ECOWAS leaders to make him step down was met with stiff resistance.


In a last-minute effort to convince him to cede power, Presidents of Liberia and Guinea went to Banjul on Friday.


Military forces from Senegal had earlier crossed into Gambia in an attempt to oust Jammeh.


Barrow was sworn into office in the Gambian high commission in Dakar, Senegal, on Thursday. He fled to Dakar on Saturday for security reasons.


Source: The Cable

BREAKING: Yahya Jammeh asks for extension of deadline to vacate office.

Gambia’s leader Yahya Jammeh has asked for the extension of the deadline given to him to vacate office by ECOWAS from noon to 4 pm local time, Reuters reported on Friday. 

Senegal forces entered the Gambia hours after the opposition figure Adama Barrow, who won the December 2016 presidential election in the small West African nation, was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Dakar.


But the military intervention – named Operation Restore Democracy – aimed at installing Barrow as the president of the country has been halted temporarily to allow for a last-ditch negotiation.


“We think that up until the last minute there is still a solution through dialogue,” said Marcel de Souza, head of the ECOWAS commission, explaining the decision to suspend the advance to reporters in Dakar late on Thursday.


Source: Guardian

UPDATE: Jammeh’s step-down deadline may be shifted by 12 hours to solidify negotiations

West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh, who lost elections last month, until midday on Friday to hand over power and agree to leave The Gambia or face military action carried out by the regional bloc ECOWAS.


However, as it is now, all indications show that the deadline may be shifted by 12 hours as leaders of Guinea and Mauritania are currently in The Gambia for talks with Jammeh to leave power.


Though, this information is yet to be made official, Omojuwa.Com gathered that this deadline shift is a ploy to allow for proper and conclusive negotiations with Yahya Jammeh on concession of power to the President-elect, Adama Barrow.


West African troops entered the country to bolster its new President Adama Barrow – who was sworn-in on Thursday – but military operations were suspended a few hours later in favour of a final diplomatic push to convince Jammeh, who has stubbornly refused to quit, to exit peacefully.

Time almost up for Jammeh to step down as ECOWAS troops await order to strike.

West African armies halted an operation in Gambia aimed at installing the country’s new president, Adama Barrow, on Thursday so regional leaders could make one last attempt to convince longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh to step aside.

Barrow took the oath of office on Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal, calling for international support from West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc, the AU and the UN.

A regional military force launched an intervention effort, dubbed Operation Restore Democracy, shortly after the former opposition figure was sworn in.

During his inauguration speech Barrow appealed to ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations for support for his government and Gambia’s people.

“This is a day no Gambian will ever forget,” Barrow said after taking the oath, which was administered by the president of Gambia’s bar association.

“Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world.”

Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, initially conceded defeat to Barrow following a Dec. 1 election before back-tracking, saying the vote was flawed.

De Souza said a total of 7,000 troops from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Mali would be involved in the operation.

Troops had already entered Gambia from the southeast, southwest and north before they were ordered to stop.

The advance will resume at noon (1200 GMT) on Friday if Jammeh still refused to leave, he said. Barrow will return to Gambia once the operation is over.

The UN Security Council on Thursday backed ECOWAS’s efforts to ensure Barrow assumes power, and the U.S. said it supported the intervention.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement pledged “his full support for his (Barrow’s) determination, and ECOWAS’s historic decision, with the unanimous backing of the Security Council, to restore the rule of law in The Gambia so as to honour and respect the will of the Gambian people.”

ECOWAS and the AU previously said they would recognise Barrow from Thursday, and nations including the United Kingdom and France were quick to congratulate him.

Following Barrow’s swearing in, hundreds of Gambians celebrated in the streets of Banjul, the capital, cautiously at first, and then gradually in larger numbers as they realised the security forces looking on were not going to open fire.

Army chief Gen. Ousman Badjie, who had publicly stood by Jammeh, was seen smiling on the streets wading through a mass of jubilant Banjul residents shouting and dancing.

Cars raced up and down the highway lined with iron-roofed shops in the pro-Barrow Serrekunda district of Banjul, with horns honking and people hanging out the windows.

“The dictator is out,” shouted pharmacist Lamine Jao, 30, as others cheered and whistled in agreement.

“It’s just a question of time. We’ll soon flush him out. Believe me.”

During the brief inauguration speech, Barrow asserted his new role as commander and chief of Gambia’s armed services, ordering soldiers to stay calm and remain in their barracks.

Those who did not would be considered rebels, he said.

ECOWAS will send a team led by Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde, and including the presidents of Liberia and Mauritania to Banjul on Friday, de Souza said.

If the mission succeeds, Jammeh will travel to Guinea before choosing a country of exile.

“It’s out of the question that he stays in place. … We propose that he leaves in an honourable manner and with respect,” said de Souza, who added that regional leaders were open to the possibility of an amnesty as part of a deal.

It was unclear what Jammeh’s next move would be. He has so far ignored pressure to step aside and offers of exile.

He now faces almost total diplomatic isolation and a government riddled by defections.

In the biggest loss yet, Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy, who has held the role since 1997, quit on Wednesday.

In a statement released late on Thursday, Jammeh announced he was dissolving his government – a 19-member Cabinet, half of whose members had already resigned – and pledged to name a new one “in due course.”

Fearing unrest, thousands of Gambians have fled in recent weeks, the United Nations estimates.

Tour companies, meanwhile, have rushed to evacuate hundreds of European tourists.

Gambia’s long, sandy beaches have made it a prime destination for tourists, but Jammeh, who once vowed to rule for “a billion years,” has earned a reputation for rights abuses and stifling dissent.


Source: Guardian

Gambia: Jammeh given till midday to go as troops close in.

West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh until midday on Friday to cede power after regional troops crossed the border in support of his democratically elected successor.

Marcel Alain de Souza, chairman of the west African union Ecowas, said the troops will force Jammeh out if he refuses to leave the country.

The west African troops entered the Gambia on Thursday night, hours after Adama Barrow was forced to hold his inauguration as president in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. De Souza said the west African force, which includes tanks, has so far met no resistance.

A delegation of west African leaders – including the presidents of Liberia, Mauritania and Guinea – are expected to arrive in Gambia on Friday as part of a final mediation mission, Gambian state television said.

Holding a Qur’an and looking solemn, Barrow was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, where he has spent the past few days, and delivered his inaugural speech as president. “This is a day no Gambian will ever forget,” he told a crowd of officials and diplomats. “This is the first time since the Gambia became independent in 1965 that the Gambia has changed the government through the ballot box.”

Jammeh, who ruled the west African state for 22 years and tried to extend his tenure despite losing to Barrow, is still in State House in the capital and is attempting to make a last-minute deal to ease his way out, according to sources close to the government. Earlier this week, he imposed a state of emergency in a final attempt to hang on to power.

Nevertheless, celebrations in the Gambia began as soon as Barrow had made his speech, with drivers beeping their horns in elation and people leaning out of car windows, waving their arms, in scenes reminiscent of the outpouring of joy after the election result was announced. Jammeh rejected it a short time later.

Significantly, Barrow called on the UN to enforce his electoral win. “I hereby make a special appeal to Ecowas, AU [African Union] and the UN, particularly the security council, to support the government and people of the Gambia in enforcing their will, restore their sovereignty and constitutional legitimacy,” he said.

Soon after Barrow’s speech, the UN security council unanimously backed a resolution that called “upon the countries in the region and the relevant regional organisation to cooperate with President Barrow in his efforts to realise the transition of power” – a statement that lent weight to Barrow but stopped short of explicitly sanctioning military intervention.

When the president of Mauritania arrived in the country on a final mediation mission on Wednesday night, Jammeh demanded that Barrow’s inauguration be delayed and that he be allowed to return to his farm in the Gambia, according to diplomatic sources. The sources also said Jammeh asked that Ecowas, the regional body that has been leading negotiations for the past month, be replaced as a mediator.

However, it is highly unlikely that Jammeh will be allowed any of these concessions except a safe haven. One senior member of the coalition told the Guardian last month that Jammeh had “bunkers and treasure” at the farm and would start an insurgency if he were allowed to go back.

Barrow offered an olive branch to the country’s military, which has changed its allegiance several times over the past month, with the chief of defence staff saying most recently that as Jammeh paid his salary, he answered to him. “I call on all civilian and military personnel of the state to support my presidency, since it is built on a constitutional foundation,” Barrow said. “They are assured that they will not be subjected to any injustice or discrimination but will be provided with better working conditions and terms of service.”

Halifa Sallah, the spokesman for Barrow’s coalition, said he expected Jammeh to change his defiant position when he saw that the military were no longer with him, which he thought would happen imminently. “Once the international community recognises Barrow, Jammeh will realise that he does not have legitimacy, and governability is also an impossibility, so he may decide to leave,” he said.

The Nigerian foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who was involved in mediation efforts, said: “There’s a bottom line. There’s a new president. He has to leave power. Ecowas is ready to take steps to ensure that the elected president is able to assume his mandate. The new president will have his say. He might not want necessarily to ride into Banjul on the tank of a foreign country.”

Comic Relief: Even Google is confused about who the President of Gambia is.

As ECOWAS troops continue to march into Banjul the capital of Gambia, in a bid to oust the incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh whose tenure expires today, there has been much uncertainty about the state of the presidency of Gambia.


Presently, the President-elect, Mr Adama Barrow is being sworn-in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal. This unfolding event and more gives rise to the question; “Who is the president of Gambia?” and this has turned out to be a difficult question to answer. So we decided to run a quick search on Google, the world’s number one search engine and this is what we got as result;



Funny, isn’t it?

Gambia’s president is refusing to leave office — even as foreign troops near.

Twenty-three years after taking power and more than a month after a shocking election loss, Gambia’s defeated president isn’t ready to step down. But by Thursday morning, the pressure on Yahya Jammeh mounted as the country lurched towarda political crisis.

Troops from neighboring Senegal moved to the border with Gambia, a tiny West African country on the Atlantic Ocean. Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz arrived in the capital, Banjul, the latest in a series of African leaders who have tried to convince Jammeh to stand down. In diplomatic circles, officials suggested that Jammeh could be offered asylum in Morocco or Nigeria in exchange for handing power to the man who defeated him in December, Adama Barrow.

But on Thursday, as his term formally expired, it appeared that Jammeh remained in Banjul. There were no reports of Senegalese troops crossing the border into Gambia.

President-elect Barrow, meanwhile, posted on social media that he would hold his inauguration at the Gambian embassy in Senegal at 4 p.m. Thursday, local time.

For years, Jammeh has been caricatured as a mercurial strongman whose rule and bizarre claims, such as his ability to cure AIDS with local herbs, left him with few close international allies. In Gambia, Jammeh’s many critics say he helped enrich a small circle of politicians while doing little for the rest of the impoverished country, leading to a massive exodus to North Africa and Europe. He also vowed to slit the throats of gay men and ordered security forces to round up hundreds of people accused of witchcraft. Last year, he said Gambia would leave the International Criminal Court, which his administration mocked as the “International Caucasian Court.”


In recent days, thousands more Gambians fled the country. Among them were some of Jammeh’s former cabinet members who severed ties with him after he refused to concede the December election. The country’s ambassador to Washington, Sheikh Omar Faye, said last month that Jammeh “has created a serious post-election crisis and put The Gambia on a dangerous path.”

Hundreds of foreign tourists, who flock to Gambia’s hotel-dotted coastline, were evacuated this week.

Barrow has remained in Senegal while regional leaders tried to persuade Jammeh to leave, while simultaneously crafting a possible military operation to oust him. Barrow has little political experience — he was once a security guard at a London department store — but many Gambians see him as the symbol of a fresh start for the country. Some of his supporters suggested that they would be willing to fight Jammeh’s forces if necessary.

“Those who resist peaceful change, effective 12 midnight tonight, shall face definite consequences, to their peril,” said Mai Ahmad Fatty, one of Barrow’s advisers, in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “Anyone with firearms tonight shall be deemed a rebel, and will certainly become a legitimate target.”

Still, Aziz, Mauritania’s president, said his Wednesday meeting with Jammeh left him hopeful.

“I am now less pessimistic (Jammeh) will work on a peaceful solution that is in the best interest for everyone,” he said on Gambian state television.

Gambia: Adama Barrow Reaches Out To Jammeh

Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow has again appealed to outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to step aside in the supreme interest of his people and safe the Gambia from civil strive.

Mr Barrow said  Mr Jammeh’s refusal to step down will result in a military confrontation and the loss of lives and destructions of public and private properties.

President Jammeh’s mandate expired on Wednesday but he is refusing to relinquish power to Adama Barrow, who was declared winner of last month’s election.

He had vowed to cling to power after accusing the country’s electoral commission of rigging the election in favour of the opposition.

His attempt to overturn the election result at the Supreme Court has been delayed because of a shortage of judges as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries.

Mr Jammeh’s refusal to step down has open the door for  a possible Senegal led military intervention to installed Mr Barrow.

Senegalese troops are stationed at the Gambian border and waiting for the green light to storm the small West Africa nation of less that two million people.

The threat of military action is supported by Nigeria and other states in the region.

But in a message delivered through his spokesman, Halifa Sallah, Mr Barrow who is due to be sworn-in this afternoon in neighbouring Senegal, said the Gambian people do not deserve to live in a country where properties are destroyed and blood flowing like a river.

“I don’t want to assume power stepping on dead bodies, looking at destroyed properties and blood flowing like a river. The Gambian people do not deserve that,” Mr Barrow said.

He therefore called on all Gambians both civilians and members of the armed forces to remain united irrespective of their ethnolinguistic differences and give the Gambia a new start.

Mr Barrow added: “For that to be possible, President Jammeh has to concede and transfer power as dictated by the constitution. There has been no threat from the coalition on the security and safety of Mr Jammeh. Rather he has been given the assurance by words and letter that he will be treated like the ex-President Jawara and will have the same privileges and rights as an ex-president of the Gambia.

“There is no treat to any civil servant or anybody in the security apparatus. What we have stated repeatedly is that the rights of all will be respected and prejudices will not give rise to government decision. The rule of law, good governance, human rights will be observed and democracy will thrive and the Gambian people and media will be given a new lease of life where they become the voices of the people amplified for government to become sensitive and responsive to the vital needs of the Gambian people.

“We are not threatening anyone but are designed to give the Gambia a new start and that is why President-elect Barrow was elected on an independent ticket so that he will not be a party president. The fundamental objective of the coalition was to separate party and state to  make people the real owners of power which they can use to elect and remove their leader.”

Ghana sends 205 soldiers to The Gambia as part of ECOWAS regional force

Ghana’s new president has announced he is sending 205 soldiers to The Gambia as part of a regional force to enforce the result of the country’s disputed election.


Nana Akufo-Addo said in a statement late Wednesday that he had “approved and authorised the deployment of a combat team of 205 troops, backed with the appropriate logistical equipment”.


Nigeria on Thursday said it was contributing 200 soldiers and air assets, including fighter jets, to the regional force while Senegal, The Gambia’s neighbour, said its troops were “on alert”.


But Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a coup two decades ago, has refused to recognise the result, launched a legal challenge and declared a state of emergency.

BREAKING: Botswana no longer recognizes Mr Yahya Jammeh [Press Release]

Following Mr. Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power to the President-elect Adama Barrow, in accordance with the expressed will of the Gambian people, the Government of Botswana announces that it will no longer recognize Mr. Jammeh as the President of Gambia, together with his Government.


This decision which takes effect immediately is consistent with Botswana’s position as articulated through the Press Release of 16th December 2016.


Mr. Jammeh’s decision not to respect the will of the Gambian people undermines the ongoing efforts to consolidate democracy and good governance in The Gambia and Africa as a whole. This is also in direct contravention of the spirit and aspirations of the African Union Constitutive Act.


The Government of Botswana therefore continues to appeal to the international community to do all within its power to exert pressure on Mr. Jammeh to hand over power in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Gambian state house website displays Adama Barrow as country’s new president

With gale of resignations hitting his cabinet in its last official days, President Yahya Jammeh’s endgame is probably near.


The latest indication of that is the display, as at press time, the picture of the man who brought Jammeh’s 22-year rule to an inglorious, Adama Barrow on the official website of Gambia’s State House. But it is unclear if the website was hacked.


Barrow is expected to be sworn in today. Where it will be done, is yet unclear as Jammeh ignored military threats and stay put in Banjul, refusing to step down.


Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who initiated the last minute effort to break the political deadlock by visiting Jammeh on Wednesday said Jammeh was adamant about hanging on to power.


Jammeh lost to opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the December 2016 presidential election after ruling the West African nation for 22 years. But he later announced that the election results were flawed and unacceptable.


On Tuesday, Jammeh declared a state of emergency just two days before he is due to step down, citing “extraordinary” foreign interference in the country’s post-electoral crisis.The following day, the country’s National Assembly a resolution that gave the incumbent him a three-month tenure extension.


Source: Guardian

Adama Barrow to be sworn in at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal

The in-coming president of the Gambia Adama Barrow is to be sworn in at Gambian embassy in Senegal today, his spokesman said on Thursday.


“It is going to take place at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, they have changed the venue, at 4:00 pm (1600 GMT),” spokesman Halifa Sallah said.


Barrow himself tweeted the information earlier the today.


Organisers had planned a large ceremony in a stadium in The Gambia but were forced to change plans due to the political crisis caused by incumbent Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to step down.


More details to come.

UPDATE: Yahya Jammeh’s lawyer flees, asks him to step down.

Edu Gomez, the lawyer of outgoing leader of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, has fled the country to neighbouring Senegal after penning the president a letter to step down from office in the interest of peace.

Mr. Gomez who represented Mr. Jammeh and his party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, APRC, in their failed attempt to have the country’s Supreme Court overturn the victory of the President-elect, Adama Barrow, and stop his inauguration as President.

In his letter, Mr. Gomez claimed he was made to work under “tremendous pressure and coercion” as the lawyer of the now largely isolated leader and his party. He added that he could not refuse to work for Mr. Jammeh and his party, like other lawyers in the country, because he was on a retainer.

“On Tuesday 17th January 2017, my son and I took a crucial decision to seek sanctuary in the sister Republic of Senegal. This was found necessary due to the mounting fear and rapidly increasing tension at every passing moment,” he wrote.

“The general perception is that after midnight on 18th January 2017, the mandate of President Yahya Jammeh would expire and President-elect Mr. Adama Barrow would be sworn-in as president, in line with the dictates of our constitution. Any attempt to interrupt this ceremony, it is clearly understood, opens the Gambia to attack from ECOWAS forces.

“As a legal practitioner representing President Jammeh and the APRC the party in the ongoing petition filed on his behalf at the Supreme Court of the Gambia, I have to admit that I was working under tremendous pressure and coercion. All the lawyers with established practices in the Gambia refused to be associated with the said petition. As a retainer for the ruling APRC party, I could not refuse the brief on professional grounds, despite my apprehension.”

He said he and his family fled to Senegal having successfully eluded the 24 hour military surveillance he was placed on.

He advised Mr. Jammeh to step down so as to avoid a gruesome end to his presidency and in the interest of peace and the safety of the Gambian people.

“Having fortunately eluded the 24 hour military security around me and my family, I managed to arrive in Senegal where I now gained safety, respite and mental stability. In my present situation, I humbly and respectfully advise President Jammeh as the champion of peace he has been known to be to peacefully step aside in the interest of peace and safety of the Gambian people.

“Everything, except God’s Kingdom, comes to an end. I advocate for a peaceful end rather than a violent and gruesome end. Please in the name of Most Merciful God do not allow your legacy to be described as one where “pen of the sword dipped in innocent blood writes its history on the rough page of tyranny”, he said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Mr. Jammeh turned down a last ditch effort by the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, to convince him to step and aside and rescue him to exile.

Mr Aziz arrived Gambia just as ECOWAS troops prepared for a military action in the country.

Having failed to convince Mr Jammeh to relinquish power, Mr Aziz later left the country for a meeting with Senegalese president Macky Sall and Mr. Barrow, who had been in the Senegalese capital Dakar, after the failure or ECOWAS leaders to convince Mr Jammeh to allow the peace transition of power.


Source: Premium Times

Panic across Gambia as Defeated Leader, Jammeh Tightens Grip Before Inauguration

President Yahya Jammeh once predicted that his rule could last a billion years. Now, the fate of his nation is hanging on one more anxiety-filled day.

After acknowledging defeat in an election last month, Mr. Jammeh abruptly changed his mind, refusing to step aside for the inauguration of the new president scheduled for Thursday and threatening to drag the nation into a bloody standoff.

Mr. Jammeh, who has long been criticized for human rights abuses and grandiose claims like being able to cure AIDS with little more than prayer and a banana, has insisted on a do-over election. He declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, warning the nation not to engage in any “acts of disobedience.”

Senior officials in Mr. Jammeh’s government have resigned in protest or left the country. Thousands of Gambians have fled to the countryside or across the border, fearing violence. West African nations have urged diplomacy but made plans for a military intervention, while Mr. Jammeh has threatened that his own military is prepared to defend Gambia’s sovereignty against foreign interference.

Now his opponent in the election, Adama Barrow, who has the overwhelming support of Gambians and international leaders, is forging ahead with plans for an inauguration ceremony on Thursday, throwing continental Africa’s smallest nation into uncertainty.

“What we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and allow Gambians to elect who they want to be their president,” Mr. Jammeh told the nation, rejecting the previous vote as riddled with irregularities.

Parliament added to the confusion on Wednesday, voting to extend Mr. Jammeh’s term for three months, state television reported, although it was not clear whether the move was binding.

Dueling claims to the presidency have upended nations in the region before, coming to a violent end in Ivory Coast in 2010.

Back then, Laurent Gbagbo, the president, refused to step down after the challenger, Alassane Ouattara, won a presidential election. Mr. Gbagbo declined to vacate the presidential palace, while Mr. Ouattara was forced to hole up in a hotel with United Nations peacekeepers watching over him.

The standoff led to months of turmoil and the deaths of more than 3,000 people as armed groups swept across the country and battled for control. Finally, France, the former colonial power, attacked Mr. Gbagbo’s compound and helped drive him out, culminating in his arrest in April 2011.

Many Gambians are worried about a repeat in their country. Samsudeen Sarr, Gambia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, predicted that military intervention in Gambia would lead to a similar civil war if foreign forces intervened.

“Starting a war may be easy, but the aftermath of the war is what should be our major concern,” Mr. Sarr said. “The Gambian Army has been very loyal to President Jammeh, and it should not be underestimated.”

At first, Gambia seemed on track for a surprisingly simple transition. Mr. Jammeh has stiffly ruled the nation for 22 years since seizing power in a coup. His government has prosecuted and imprisoned critics, some of whom wound up dead. Thousands of citizens have fled the country amid soaring unemployment. Threats of imprisonment have been a fact of life for years.

Without warning, the country cut off telephone and internet service around the time of the election, raising fears of government repression to hold onto power. But after election results showed that Mr. Jammeh had lost, he suddenly conceded in a polite, jokey phone call to Mr. Barrow. Gambians erupted with relief that his rule was over.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Jammeh was fuming over the results. His advisers eventually persuaded him to concede to avoid unrest. Then talk of his prosecution for human rights abuses began. Mr. Jammeh announced that the vote was flawed and appealed to the Supreme Court.

Since then, Gambia’s election drama has unfolded with strange twists.

Regional leaders flew in but failed to persuade Mr. Jammeh to accept the vote. A hashtag circulated on social media — #GambiaHasDecided — with citizens’ calling for him to step down. The court effort stalled, largely because Gambia has not had a full panel of Supreme Court judges in more than a year, after Mr. Jammeh fired the justices and refused to refill the bench.

A court hearing on the case was recently rescheduled, but not until May, potentially leaving the fate of the country uncertain for months.

Mr. Jammeh called Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also the chairwoman of the Economic Community of West African States, appealing for help in assembling a panel of Supreme Court justices to hear his case immediately. Mr. Jammeh broadcast the phone call to the nation, unbeknown to Ms. Sirleaf, who apparently thought the conversation was private.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jammeh’s cabinet is showing cracks. His information minister, who for years had staunchly defended him, fled the country. This week the minister of finance resigned, and a day later his replacement also resigned. The minister of tourism and the health and social welfare minister have also quit.

Mr. Jammeh has fired others who have called on him to respect the election results. Sheikh Omar Faye, Gambia’s ambassador to the United States, was called back from his duties after publicly appealing to Mr. Jammeh to step down. Mr. Faye said it was morally difficult for him to remain silent while Gambians were in a state of uncertainty. Alhaji Moamar Njai, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, also fled the country citing fears for his safety.

Joining them are thousands of citizens who have run to the countryside or poured across the border into Senegal in fear of bloodshed in their home nation.

Even the election winner, Mr. Barrow, has left the country. Last week, he flew to Mali to meet with other regional leaders who pledged their support. For now, he is in Senegal, planning his inauguration ceremony and avoiding security risks that might emerge in Gambia. Over the weekend, his 7-year-old son back home died of a wound from a dog bite. The funeral took place without Mr. Barrow, who had been advised to stay in Senegal for his safety.

In recent days in Banjul, the capital, shops in the main markets have stayed closed out of fear. Food prices have shot up, tripling in some areas.

Gambia’s intelligence officers have arrested several opposition sympathizers and have shuttered three independent radio stations. At least six people have been detained for wearing or selling T-shirts bearing the #GambiaHasDecided logo, according to Amnesty International.

The huge presence of security forces across the city is making everyone uneasy.

Amy Sakho, a resident of Serekunda, said she went out on Monday to buy a Barrow T-shirt for inauguration day but backpedaled when she saw the police on the streets.

“I went back home without the shirt,” she said. “I am really worried about Gambia. I don’t know what to look forward to.”

US Tells Yahya Jammeh: Leave Power Now

The U.S. has warned the embattled President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia, saying he is losing opportunities to peacefully handover to President-elect Adama Barrow and avoid the consequences of his actions.

Jammeh’s tenure ends tomorrow 19 January, the same day that Barrow is expected to be sworn in as his successor. Both the African Union and ECOWAS have said that Jammeh will cease to be recognised as Gambian President from the date.

Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Mr John Kirby, said at a press briefing on Tuesday that Jammeh is putting his legacy and The Gambia in peril.

“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the will of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect, which is supposed to happen on Thursday.

“Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos.

“Failure to do so will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this,” he said.

According to him, the accusation by Jammeh of external interference in The Gambia’s internal affairs is not tenable.

“I don’t know what interference he’s referring to, but we obviously want to see the Gambia succeed.

“And we want to see the president-elect properly installed and to have in place a government, which is responsible for and responsive to the needs of the Gambian people.”

The U.S. had on Friday, indicated support for ECOWAS to take all necessary action on Jammeh if he fails to handover to Barrow.

The U.S. had regretted that Jammeh’s action had made the situation in The Gambia to become “very uncertain”.

“We call on President Jammeh to listen to his own people, to listen to the Gambian people who have clearly called on him to accept the results of the December 1st election.

“And to again agree to what he already agreed to, which is a peaceful handover of power to President-elect Barrow.”

Kirby, however, said the U.S. “believes that ECOWAS can certainly play an important role in providing for security and addressing some of the concerns that there could be violence around the transition”.

He also said that the U.S. was not ruling out its support to a military action, saying: “We do, and I’m not trying to back away from that in any way, shape, or form.

“I just would say that we do, obviously, support ECOWAS as a force for peace and security in the region, and specifically in The Gambia.

“Well, again, I don’t want to speak to what possible actions they may take. I don’t want to get out in front of those decisions,” he said.

Kirby noted the unfortunate accidental airstrike on an internally displaced people’s camp in Rann locality of Borno.

According to him, the U.S. will continue providing the Nigerian Government with counter-terrorism assistance against the Boko Haram insurgents.


Source: Sahara Reporters

Nigerian Warship And Troops Head For Gambia To Sack Yahya Jammeh

Nigeria soldiers will, on Wednesday (today), arrive at a base of the Economic Community of West African States troops in Senegal to ensure that President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia steps down on Thursday, January 19.

Nigerian warship, NNS UNITY, is also heading for the coast of The Gambia to join the operation.

The PUNCH learnt from a top military source in the Nigerian Air Force that the troops would be briefed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in the early hours of Wednesday, before leaving for Senegal.

It was gathered that apart from the NAF and the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army would also contribute troops, although the number of deployment could not yet be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.

The source said some of the NAF fighter jets were expected to airlift the troops.

He said, “I can confirm to you that men of the Air Force will leave for Senegal tomorrow (Wednesday). They will be briefed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the Kainji base in Niger State.

“That Nigeria is deploying troops is now a certainty after several meetings with The Gambian president yielded no result. The Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS countries came to Abuja on Saturday, where they discussed what components each member state is expected to contribute to the troops that will force Yahya Jammeh out.

“The troops are expected to stay for two weeks and they will be received at a base in Senegal.”

Another military source added, “The NNS Unity is currently sailing off the coast of Ghana, after leaving from Lagos. It is not only Nigeria. Senegal is the host country for the troops, as it would be easy to launch an attack from there.”

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, however, said it could not confirm the deployments, adding that it was a matter being coordinated by political leaders.

The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said, “We should not drag the Nigerian military into a political issue. What is happening is a political discussion between the ECOWAS leaders, aimed at solving a political impasse in one of its member states.

“Whatever they agreed to do is what will happen. Therefore, the military is not for any engagement regarding Jammeh or any other person for that matter.”

Adama Barrow of the opposition party won the December 1, 2016, presidential election but Jammeh, who initially conceded defeat by congratulating Barrow, made a U-turn a week later, saying he would challenge the results.

Despite interventions by the African Union and ECOWAS, Jammeh insisted he would not hand over power to Barrow.

This stance informed the decision of the leaders to withdraw their recognition for Jammeh as the Gambian president after Thursday.

Meanwhile, Jammeh, on Tuesday, declared a 90-day state of emergency 24 hours to the end of his tenure.

He warned security forces against violating the order or engaging in acts likely to cause a breach of the peace, and denounced “foreign interference in The Gambia’s election.”

The declaration of a state of emergency by the embattled President followed a rejection of his injunction to stop Barrow’s inauguration by the Gambian Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle, on Monday.

In a televised announcement on Tuesday, Jammeh said, “Any acts of disobedience to the laws of the Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace are banned under the state of emergency.”

He directed security forces to “maintain absolute peace, law and order.”

Barrow is currently in Senegal and due to security fears, he was unable to attend the funeral of his eight-year-old son, who died on Monday after a dog bite.


Source: Sahara Reporters

BREAKING: One day to go, Jammeh declares 90 days state of emergency in Gambia

A day before the official end of his tenure, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared a 90-day state of emergency, Gambian State television has announced.

The terms for the state of emergency are not known as the announcement did not provide further details.

Mr. Jammeh made the declaration as Nigeria reportedly deployed a warship to the coast of the country to put pressure on the long term leader to vacate office and hand over to President-elect Adama Barrow.

Mr. Barrow was to be inaugurated on Thursday but Mr. Jammeh has said he will not hand over to him.

The President-elect has since left the country to neighbouring Senegal after the mediation intended to convince Mr. Jammeh to allow for peaceful transition, led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, seems unsuccessful.

Also the regional Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has said it could deploy soldiers to force Mr. Jammeh out of office.

While Mr. Jammeh still clings to power, many of his aides have deserted him.

Gambia’s tourism and culture minister, Benjamin Roberts, on Tuesday became the sixth minister to resign from Mr. Jammeh’s cabinet.

Others who have resigned include ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade, information, and environment.


Source: Premium Times

JUST IN: Four Gambian ministers resign as Yahya Jammeh vows to remain in power.

Gambia’s Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Environment have resigned from President Yahya Jammeh’s government, according to report on Tuesday.

They all resigned as regional forces prepare to oust the veteran leader unless he steps down by Thursday.

Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, has become increasingly isolated at home and abroad after he refused to accept his Dec. 1 defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow.

The surprise loss was seen as a boost to democracy in the former British colony, which has had only two presidents since it gained independence in 1965.

But Jammeh’s defiance has sent the tiny West African country into crisis, causing government defections and opening up the prospect of military intervention by other countries in the region.

A senior Nigerian military source said Nigeria and other West African nations were prepared to intervene militarily to remove him if he remains in office after Wednesday, when his presidential mandate runs out.

“The chiefs of defence staff of West African countries met on Monday to discuss strategies on the best way to get Yahya Jammeh out if he refuses to hand over power,’’ said the Nigerian source, who declined to be identified.

“Some West African countries will be contributing troops, including Nigeria, for the operation,’’ said the source, adding that the United Nations and African Union had offered support to regional body ECOWAS for the plan.

According to Gambian state television on late Monday, Finance Minister Abdou Kolley was being replaced.

Ministry sources said other government leaders including Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall-Gaye had left the government and the country.

Their departures follow the resignation of communications minister Sheriff Bojang last week.

The mayor of the capital Banjul has also resigned, according to sources at the city council.

Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh lists reasons why he should remain President

The Gambia’s outgoing leader, Yahya Jammeh, continued to insist on Monday he would not step aside for President-elect Adama Barrow to be sworn-in on January 19, brushing aside international calls and pressure from the regional bloc, ECOWAS.?

Mr. Jammeh issued the latest threat to the country’s fist change of leadership in 22 years in a telephone call to the chairperson of ECOWAS and Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

During the conversation posted on Youtube, Mr. Jammeh told Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf, who is leading efforts to ensure respect for the outcome of last December’s election, that the “status quo” had to remain until his country’s Supreme Court decides on an application by his party.

The application wants the court “to restrain Adama Barrow from being sworn-in as well as restraining the Chief Justice or any other person from swearing him, Adama Barrow, into office.”

But the Chief Justice and at the moment sole judge of the court, Emmanuel Fagbenle, a Nigerian, on Monday said he could not entertain the application because it includes him as a defendant.

The Gambia went to the polls on December 1 to elect a new president. Mr. Jammeh running for a fifth term came up against two other candidates. The electoral body returned Mr. Barrow winner of the election, and within 24 hours made a phone call to concede defeat and congratulate the declared winner.

The gesture had earned Mr. Jammeh, who had seized power in a military putsch against the first president of the country, Dauda Jawara, in 1994, instant praises.

But a week later, Mr. Jammeh shocked the world when he rejected the results on national television citing irregularities and ordering a rerun of the polls.

Judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone traditionally preside at the Supreme Court of The Gambia in special sessions between May and November because the country does not have enough qualified judges to sit at the apex court.

Mr. Jammeh therefore appealed to Mrs. Johnson to help facilitate the availability of the judges, although the Nigerian and Sierra Leonean judiciary had already said they could not do so until May.

In his telephone conversation with Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf on Monday, Mr. Jammeh said: “With regards to our last meeting when you came here. I want to request your assistance as the chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State. I want to request you to help us resolve this matter through the court.

“I want you, I want ECOWAS to facilitate the release of the Judges so that they can come to help us resolve constitutionally through the constitution of the Gambia. As I said the only resolution of this impasse is through the court.

“Everything that will be done let it be based on the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia. An application has also been filed before the Supreme Court of The Gambia for injunction to restrain Adama Barrow from being sworn-in as well as restraining the Chief Justice or any other person from swearing him, Adama Barrow, into office.

“Until this application is decided either way, the status quo must remain, that is until the Supreme Court makes decision on this the status quo can’t change.”

Mr. Jammeh’s fifth term runs out on January 19.

Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, first said: ‘you want to talk to again’ on answering the call, before Mr. Jammeh added, that “date is not cast in stone.”

He then persisted thus: “As we have matter in court and have issue with our election, all parties should await the judgement of the Supreme Court which will be the only legal entity to trash out this case once and for all.

“I want to assure you that whatever we are going to do will be based on the constitution of The Gambia. All as we discussed must pass through the constitution of The Gambia which is the supreme authority.

“So once again, I am requesting the ECOWAS to facilitate the coming of the judges so they can resolve this case as soon as possible. I count on you,’ said Mr. Jammeh, to the Liberian President whom he called “my sister”.

In her response, Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf assured him she would go “to work on this right away.”

She said she would consult with other authorities “to tell them what you said.”

She then asked Mr. Jameh to make a “short statement” of commitment that “there will be peace, there will be no violation of the constitution.”

“A short statement like that will make everybody comfortable and will encourage Nigerians and others to get the Judges to come,” said Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf.

“I assure you I am going to do it today, my sister. You have my words” was Mr. Jammeh’s response.

“Gambia needs peace, ECOWAS wants peace,” Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf then said.

“I guarantee you insha Allah,” Mr. Jammeh replied, and the conversation ended.

Earlier on Monday, the Chief Justice, Mr. Fagbenle, declined to grant Mr. Jammeh’s prayer on Monday on the ground that the application listed the Chief Judge, who is the only Supreme Court Judge at the moment, as a party in the application.

He said he could not rule against himself.


Source: Premium Times

Gambian foreign minister resigns as Jammeh becomes more isolated

Two days to what is supposed to be his handover date, President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has lost a close ally as his foreign minister, Neneh MacDouall-Gaye, has resigned from office.

Mrs. MacDouall-Gaye’s resignation comes barely a week after Gambia’s information minister, Sheriff Bojang, resigned and fled the country in protest over the refusal of Mr. Jammeh to accept the result of December’s presidential election.

Mrs. MacDouall-Gaye on Monday resigned from Mr. Jammeh’s cabinet saying she could no longer perform her duties effectively under “the prevailing circumstances.”

“This letter serves as a formal notice of my resignation as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia,” Mrs. MacDouall-Gaye wrote.

“After due deliberation, I am of the conviction that under the prevailing circumstances I cannot effectively serve as foreign minister,” she added.

She thanked Mr. Jammeh for the opportunity to serve the country while praying to Allah that the country’s political “impasse be resolved peacefully to the pride of The Gambia nation.”

Mrs. MacDouall-Gaye, one of the country’s famous broadcasters was one the most trusted allies of Mr. Jammeh. She had served as the country’s ambassador to the United States, minister of trade, industry and employment, and minister of communication, information and technology.

There are reports that she had fled the country before turning in her resignation.

Her resignation is an indication that Mr. Jammeh is increasingly being isolated by his close allies.

There are unconfirmed reports that the country’s minister of finance and economic affairs, Addou kolley, minister of trade, industry and employment, Abdou Jobe, minister of Environment, Ousman Jarju, may have also resigned from the government.

Mr. Jammeh has come under increasing pressure from the African Union, AU, and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to accept the result of the December 1 presidential election and hand over to the President-elect, Adama Barrow.

While still utilising peaceful negotiations to convince him to step down when his tenure ends on Wednesday, the AU and the ECOWAS are also considering the deployment of a regional military to forcibly remove Mr. Jammeh from office.

Yesterday, the country’s Supreme Court refused Mr. Jammeh and his party’s application to stop the inauguration of Mr. Barrow thereby rendering his stay in office after Wednesday illegal.

Gambian President-Elect Adama Barrow’s Son Killed In Dog Attack

Habibu Barrow, the eight-year-old son of Gambian President-elect Adama Barrow, died on Sunday after being bitten by a dog, BBC Africa reports.


Mr. Barrow’s son was reportedly being transported to a hospital in Manjai when he died.


The Gambian president-elect could not attend his son’s funeral, as he was advised to remain in Senegal for his safety.


Mr. Barrow won the December 2016 presidential election in The Gambia, but outgoing President Yahya Jammeh has thus far refused to hand over power, despite initially conceding defeat.


Mr. Barrow’s inauguration ceremony is slated for Thursday, January 19. Mr. Jammeh, who has ruled the small West African country since 1994, announced that he would not recognize Mr. Barrow’s inauguration until the Supreme Court rules on his appeal contesting the election results. The court postponed the hearing due to its lack of judges eligible to hear the case.


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in talks mediated by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, urged Mr. Jammeh to accept the results of the election, but he has refused to do so. The African Union (AU) announced that it would formally recognize Mr. Barrow as president of The Gambia on January 19, regardless of whether or not Mr. Jammeh steps down.


Source: Sahara Reporters

GUARDIAN: Yahya Jammeh must go now!

Democratically rejected by his compatriots, President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, like the proverbial foolish dog destined to be lost for good, still refuses to be deterred from his determination to challenge and possibly reverse the outcome of the December 1, 2016 election. This is sad and unacceptable!


Having lost to Adama Barrow, the consensus candidate of United Democratic Party, a coalition of opposition parties, Jammeh has no other option than to respect the will of the people and vacate office.


Interestingly, his party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) has filed a petition at the Supreme Court where only the country’s chief justice, Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, from Nigeria, is available, the outgoing president having hounded other jurists out of office, into hiding or exile.
Besides the fact that his spurious petition arrived too late behind the10-day time limit allowed for such election complaint and there is simply no court to hear the already late case, Jammeh’s plan to prevent a change of leadership in his country by using the very court that he once treated shabbily and ignored for long cannot but fail.

Smarting from Supreme Court decisions that went against his government, he sacked some judges, jailed one and has refused for over a year to appoint judges to fill the four vacancies to properly and legally constitute the apex court. Effort to get judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone at short notice is not likely,  at least in respect of  Nigeria, to succeed firstly because  of the work load  of the judges and secondly because  of the timing of the request. Mr. Jammeh’s scheming is simply odious and must not be allowed to succeed.


The group of mediators comprising West African leaders, namely Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf  and  former Ghanaian President John Mahama have for weeks sought to persuade Jammeh to take an honourable exit but  without success. Jammeh keeps blowing hot and, asserting his megalomaniacal instincts under the pretext of defending the sovereignty of The Gambia, says ‘I will not be intimidated by any power in this world,’ claiming that all he wants is ‘to make sure justice is done.’ In veiled reference to a possible military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to enforce the electoral wish of the people of The Gambia, the 52 year-old former lieutenant asserted: ‘I am a man of peace but will defend my country…courageously, patriotically, and win.’


On this, he has reportedly been promised ‘unflinching loyalty and support of The Gambian Armed Forces’ through the head of the army, Ousman Badjie. On the other hand, however, many high ranking public officials in his government have opted out of his dangerous game. Minister of Information Sheriff Bojang considered the intransigence of his principal an attempt to subvert the expressed will of the electorate. ‘The Gambia has decided and we must accept and respect this decision,’ he said, and abandoned Jammeh’s ship. Alieu Monar Njai, chairman of The Gambia Electoral Commission, who presided over the election that Jammeh lost has left the country because of fear for his safety.


If in truth the only reason for Mr. Jammeh’s volte face, after accepting the outcome of the election and even congratulating the winner, is to make sure that  justice is done, this defeated president should  know that there is no justice higher than the will of the people exercised in a free and fair election that rejected him and opted for a new leader, a new political party, in sum, a new beginning for the country after 22 years of  authoritarian rule. That is the highest form of justice in any system of government! If, in truth, Jammeh is a man of peace, he will do nothing to disturb the peace of The Gambia as he appears determined to do by clinging to power.


Justice demands that he does everything within his human and presidential powers to facilitate a smooth change of baton so that The Gambians can get on with their lives. And if in truth his desire is to defend his country ‘courageously, patriotically, and win,’ there can be no better way to demonstrate this than to allow the result of the December 1, 2016 election to stand.  That is what defines the courage and the patriotism of a leader and a winner.


Source: Guardian

ECOWAS: Barrow ‘won’t return’ to Gambia until inauguration

Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow is to remain in Senegal until Thursday when the tenure of President Yahya Jammeh will be officially over.

Quoting APS, a Senegalese media outfit, the BBC said the move was requested by ECOWAS leaders after the security summit in Mali.

At the summit, Barrow was referred to as president.

He left Banjul, capital of Gambia, after ECOWAS leaders, who had visited Jammeh, failed to convince him to step down.

Thousands of Gambians, mostly women and children, have already crossed the border into neighbouring Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau, where they do not require a visa.

Jammeh has made it clear that he will not step down until the supreme court decides on his legal challenge seeking to annul the results of last poll based on alleged irregularities.

The apex court adjourned the case for months because it could not form a quorum.

The African Union (AU) has told Jammeh that it will cease to recognise him as the nation’s legitimate president from January 19.

UN office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) says ECOWAS has decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the results of the December 1, 2016 presidential election.

Mohamed Chambas, head of UNOWAS, disclosed this while briefing the UN security council on the political and security situation in the region.

Jammeh seized power in the country in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses, although he has held regular elections.

African Union Says It Will Stop Recognising Gambia’s Jammeh From Jan.19.

The African Union will cease to recognise Yahya Jammeh as Gambia’s president as of January 19, the date he is due to hand power to the winner of the December election, the AU’s Peace and Security Council said on Friday.

Jammeh, whose authoritarian rule began with a 1994 coup, lost the December 1 election to Adama Barrow by a slim margin. He initially conceded defeat but a week later contested the result and called for another poll, refusing to give up power.

Whether Gambia can install Barrow as president is seen as a test for African democracy in a region accustomed to power changing hands at the barrel of a gun.

In a statement issued after a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, the council also warned of “serious consequences in the event that his action causes any crisis that could lead to political disorder, humanitarian and human rights disaster, including loss of innocent lives and destruction of property”.

In the past, the AU has often talked tough but backed away from any action that might lead to further conflict. However international pressure on Jammeh is growing.

A delegation of West African officials including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Ghana’s President John Mahama arrived in the capital,Banjul, on Friday.

They will try to persuade Jammeh on behalf of regional bloc ECOWAS to make an honorable exit, rather than risk dragging the country into crisis or civil war.

“Only God knows whether Jammeh will accept to step down,” Buhari said.

While ECOWAS has voiced its commitment to seeking a peaceful solution to the impasse, it has also hinted of possible military action if Jammeh stays on beyond the end of his term next week.

“This talk is very, very crucial because it is on the basis of this talk that everybody can now begin to see which option to take,” said Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, also part of the delegation.

Gambia: “I won’t quit as president”, Jammeh insists

President Yahya Jammeh on Thursday in Banjul reiterated his stand that he would not step down as Gambian leader when his mandate ends on Wednesday.

The information ministry said in a statement read on national television that Mr. Jammeh was planning to remain in office until the Supreme Court decides on a petition he filed.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Jammeh is challenging the result of the December 1 presidential election he lost to Adama Barrow.

Mr. Barrow, a former real estate agent who was little known before he announced his candidacy, meanwhile has also reiterated he is planning to take office on January 19, as scheduled.

Earlier this week, Gambia’s dysfunctional Supreme Court adjourned hearing Mr. Jammeh’s petition to Monday, since only one of a required minimum of five judges were present.

Experts however believe it will be highly unlikely that four additional judges will be present on Monday.

This is because the Supreme Court has not been operational since Mr. Jammeh fired several of the court’s judges in mid-2016.

All other eligible Court of Appeal judges left the country after the December election.

Observers fear that delays to the planned handover of power could lead to violence as Gambia has been in a political lockdown since Mr. Jammeh refused to accept the result.

Meanwhile, some West African leaders, including Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, are expected to arrive in Gambia to convince Mr. Jammeh to respect the constitution and hand over the presidency.

Jammeh suffers setback at supreme court, postpones ECOWAS visit

Yahaya Jammeh, president of Gambia, has suffered a setback in his bid to use the country’s supreme court to upturn the victory of Adama Barrow, his rival.

On Tuesday, the apex court postponed the hearing of the case for months, citing a lack of judges.

“We can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court,” Emmanuel Fagbenle, the court’s chief justice, said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian judge said the extra judges needed to hear the case were not available.

The Gambia relies on foreign judges, notably from Nigeria, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny West African state.

Fagbenle added that he would prefer the country to resolve its political deadlock through the mediation underway by a group of West African leaders, who are attempting to persuade Jammeh to respect the constitution and step aside.

“This is why alternative dispute resolution is important,” he said.

“We are now only left with the ECOWAS mediation initiative and the inter-party committee set up by government to resolve the dispute.”

Jammeh’s political party lodged a legal case on his behalf last month aimed at annulling the December 1 poll result and triggering new elections.

Meanwhile, Jammeh has asked the high level ECOWAS mediation mission led by President Muhammadu Buhari not to come to Banjul, the Gambian capital, on Wednesday.

Jammeh had initially agreed to meet the continental leaders on Wednesday, but he now wants them to come on Friday.

Buhari, who is mediating alongside John Mahama, the immediate past president of Ghana, said the mandate of the ECOWAS would be accomplished.

President Buhari to lead ECOWAS delegation to Gambia again.

President Muhammadu Buhari will lead a delegation of ?the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)? to The Gambia on Wednesday.

On December 19, Buhari led some continental leaders to Gambia to persuade President Yahaya Jammeh to step down.

Although he received the leaders, Jammeh refused to give them his commitment on handing over to Adama Barrow?, winner of the election.??

Two weeks after the meeting, Jammeh accused the regional body of declaring war on his country, and he vowed to resist any form of intimidation.

The Nigerian leader hosted ECOWAS leaders to a meeting in Abuja on Monday.

Those in attendance were presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Macky Sall (Senegal) and John Mahama, who until two days ago was the number one citizen in Ghana.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of the meeting, Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said after deliberating on the current state of affairs in The Gambia, they agreed to respect constitution of the country.

Onyeama said the leaders condemned the media clampdown by Jammeh’s administration.

“They agreed on the determination to resolve The Gambian political crisis in a manner that every step of the way conforms with the constitution of The Gambia and respect the will of the people,” he said.

“They expressed particular concern at the deteriorating situation that has been reported in respect of security in The Gambia in particular, the closure of some of the radio stations and media and house, arrest that have been taking place and also the refugee situation that is being created with the mass exodus of a large number of people to the interior and to neighbouring countries.

“In view of this, the meeting agreed that a certain number of presidents will visit in two days time, President Jammeh in The Gambia and that again will comprise the mediator President Buhari together with the President of Liberia and hopefully, the President of Sierra-Leon and the co-mediator the former President of Ghana (John Mahamma) as well as the president of the ECOWAS commission, the Special Representatives of United Nations and also a Representative of the African Union. So, this meeting will take place in two days time on Wednesday to discuss with President Jammeh the need the imperative the constitution.”

ONGOING: West African Leaders Hold Closed-Door Meeting Over Gambia

Some West African leaders including President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja met behind closed door to discuss the political impasse in The Gambia.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Presidents of Liberia and Senegal, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Macky Sall as well as ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama are attending the meeting.

The representative of the United Nations to West Africa and The Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas is also attending the meeting while the Vice –President of Sierra Leone was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

The meeting, which is being held at the new Presidential Banquet, Aso Villa, followed the one in Accra on the sidelines of the inauguration of President Nana Akufo-Addo, on Saturday.

The meeting of the West African leaders is aimed at avoiding violence and preserving democracy in The Gambia.

Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the Abuja talks would discuss further steps to be taken.

“There are some disturbing information the (Nigerian) president (Muhammadu Buhari) is hearing which he needs to verify and the Abuja meeting will take a final decision,” he said, without elaborating.

The West African leaders at the Accra meeting expressed the readiness of the region to continue the pursuit of dialogue with the leaders of The Gambia.

At the last ECOWAS meeting in Abuja, President Buhari and the former President of Ghana, John Mahama, were appointed as Mediator and Co-Mediator to resolve the political impasse.

They have also been mandated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to ensure the safety of the President-elect, Adama Barrow and ensure a peaceful handover of power on January 19.

After the meeting in Accra, Liberia’s President Ellen Sirleaf said the regional bloc had no intention to deploy its standby military force in Gambia.

“We are committed to a peaceful mediation and a peaceful transfer of power in the Gambia … we will continue to pursue that for now,” Ms. Sirleaf, who chairs the 15-member body, said.

Asked if the regional group would deploy a standby force soon, she said “no”, adding that ECOWAS was closely monitoring proceedings in Gambia’s Supreme Court where President Yahya Jammeh is challenging the poll result.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the top U.N. official in West Africa, also attended the closed-door meeting, which was the first official engagement by Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was sworn in on Saturday.

Diplomats are concerned about the impasse over the poll.

The United States warned its citizens on Saturday against visiting Gambia, whose white beaches are a draw for tourists.

“The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to The Gambia because of the potential for civil unrest and violence in the near future,” the statement said.

Mr. Jammeh, a former coup leader, who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, initially accepted his defeat by opposition figure Adama Barrow in the December 1 election.

But a week later, he reversed his position, vowing to hang on to power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation.

Gambian government closes fourth radio station in one week

Gambian authorities have closed a fourth radio station in one week, a presenter with Paradigm FM, the affected station, said on Monday.


Andree Gibba, the presenter, said the station was closed on orders allegedly given by communication and information ministry.


The closure came hours after Paradise FM had interviewed a spokesman of a coalition backing Adama Barrow, the president-elect, to whom President Yahya Jammeh has refused to cede power after losing the December 1 election.


The closure followed those of Teranga FM, Hilltop FM and Afri radio, all of which the authorities did not given an explanation for.


The Gambia press union has expressed concern that the closures could signal a crackdown on independent media amid the country’s escalating political crisis.


Barrow has said he would take power on January 19 as mandated by the constitution, despite Jammeh having challenged the election results in court.


After more than two decades in power, Jammeh, 51, lost the election to Barrow, a former real estate agent who was little-known even in Gambia before he announced his candidature.


West African leaders were due to meet in Abuja today to discuss the crisis.

You have my ‘full backing’, Gambian army chief tells Yahya Jammeh.

Ousman Badjie, head of The Gambian army, has given his full backing to President Yahya Jammeh, who has refused to step down after losing the last election.

Adama Barrow, candidate of the opposition party, trounced Jammeh, who initially accepted the result but changed his mind nine days later, citing electoral “abnormalities”.

In a letter to the pro-government newspaper, Badjie pledged the “unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia armed forces” to Jammeh.

Badjie’s intervention follows the threat of military action by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) if Jammeh refuses to leave office on January 19.

Jammeh has said any such intervention would constitute an act of war.

The army’s support is seen as critical in building a transition after Jammeh’s 22 years in power.

The dispute over the election results has raised tensions in the region, with both neighbouring countries and international powers urging Jammeh to step down.

Security forces seized control of Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission headquarters in Banjul, while Alieu Momar Njai, head of the commission, fled the country over fears for his security.

Three private radio stations were also taken off air, in an apparent media crackdown. One has since resumed broadcasting music and advertisements only, with no on-air presenters or DJs.

Despite the threat of military intervention and Jammeh’s protests, Barrow’s team said they plan to declare him as president on 18 December.

FG: We’ll do everything possible to make Jammeh hand over peacefully.

Geoffrey Onyeama, foreign affairs minister, says Nigeria will do everything possible to help Gambia have a peaceful resolution to its political crisis.

Expressing optimism that President Yahya Jammeh would listen to the voice of his people, Onyeama told NAN of the efforts being made to resolve the political impasse in the West African country.

Gambian leader had accused ECOWAS of declaring war against his country, when he was asked to step down for a democratically-elected president.

Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power.

In a New Year speech broadcast on state TV, Jammeh promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression.

The Gambian president initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him.

Onyeama said in spite of the Gambian leader’s stands, Jammeh would honour the call of the ECOWAS leaders to bow out of office at the end of his mandate on January 19.

“We will like to believe that he will listen to the voice of his peers in the sub region ECOWAS,” he said.

“And that he will also listen to the voice of his people but above all he will follow the democratic path. So, we will do everything possible to bring that about.

“Essentially, we want a peaceful resolution to the issue, you know we have experienced conflict in our country and we know how far back in development conflict can take a country to.

“So we will do everything possible to help Gambia have a peaceful resolution to this political crisis.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is heading a mediation committee on the Gambia’s political impasse, had led other West African leaders to meet with Jammeh and Adama Barrow, winner of the election, on the issue.

Other leaders in the ECOWAS delegation were Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, and John Mahama of Ghana.

The leaders appealed to Jammeh to leave office and also reportedly sought a “honourable exit” for him.

The exit would ensure that he is not tried for various human rights crimes he is alleged to have committed while in office.

However, in spite of the visit, Jammeh remained defiant.

Ekweremadu opposes military action against Yahya Jammeh in Gambia

Ike Ekweremadu, deputy president of the senate, has warned against military action in Gambia, following the refusal of President Yahaya Jammeh to step down after losing election.

Maintaining that such action could threaten the security of the entire sub-region, Ekweremadu urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as the international community to explore dialogue.

Ekweremadu, who is a former Speaker of ECOWAS parliament, also called for sanctions, in line with the traditions and relevant protocols of ECOWAS.

He advised that sanctions should be considered in the event that dialogue and judicial options fail.

“From Liberia to Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, among others, West Africa has seen so much bloodletting and political instability,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf by Uche Anichukwu, his spokesman.

“Heavy destruction of lives and property has been visited on the sub-region by insurgency and terrorism, which remain present danger to the peace and security of West Africa.

“Instructively, what normally started like child’s play often resulted in protracted, but avoidable political upheavals and fratricidal wars.”

The deputy president of the senate urged major stakeholders, particularly ECOWAS of heads of state and government, to tread with caution.

He called for respect of the laws of the country, which allowed for judicial intervention in electoral disputes.

“We must all acknowledge the fact that Gambia is a sovereign state,” he said.

“If her constitution and electoral laws allow for judicial role in resolving electoral disputes, then the Gambian constitutional courts must be allowed to count in resolving the political impasse.

“If the Gambian laws are preempted and her sovereignty breached, it could set a bad and crisis-triggering precedence.

“The sub-region must uphold the rule of law for the sake of the peace, stability and prosperity of Gambia.

“We must take all necessary steps as a sub-region to steer the West African nation and indeed the entire community away from any looming bloodshed and monumental destruction.”

Ekweremadu commended ECOWAS for the concern and commitment toward resolving the political situation in Gambia.

He also commended the efforts made by President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the political situation in that country, and urged Gambian authorities to ensure the protection of the fundamental and political rights.

ECOWAS leaders have declared war on me, says Yahya Jammeh.

President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has accused the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of declaring war against his country.

Jammeh, who has vowed to stay in power despite losing the December 1 election to rival Adama Barrow, promised to defend his country against any “outside aggression”.

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.

Last week, Marcel de Souza, commission president for ECOWAS, said the body had put standby forces on alert.

In his New Year speech broadcast on state TV, Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of  the election by whatever means possible”.

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

“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.”

Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was initially seen as a moment of hope.

President Muhammadu Buhari has stepped in as an ECOWAS mediator to offer Jammeh an “honorable exit”, but Jammeh said the bloc could no longer fulfill that role.

11 Gambian ambassadors ask Jammeh to quit.

Eleven serving ambassadors of The Gambia have called on President Yahya Jammeh to quit and hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow.

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, revealed this to UN correspondents during a press briefing.

Haq said Mamadou Tangara, the permanent representative of The Gambia to the UN, was among the Gambian envoys, who appealed to Jammeh to peacefully transit power.

“The secretary-general met today with the outgoing permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia to the United Nations, Mamadou Tangara, to discuss the deteriorating political situation in the country,” Haq said.

“The secretary-general commended Ambassador Tangara for his appeal to President Yahya Jammeh.

“This is along with 10 other Gambian diplomats serving overseas, to facilitate a peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect, Adama Barrow.”

He said Ban expressed deep concern about Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power, in accordance with the Gambian constitution.

The spokesman said the secretary-general reiterated the commitment of the UN to support efforts for a peaceful, timely and orderly transfer of power from Jammeh to Barrow.

According to him, the commitment of the UN is in full respect of the will of the Gambian people, working closely with all regional and international partners.

Haq said he could not explain the reasons for Tangara’s status as outgoing and could not say if he had been recalled by Jammeh.

He said the Gambian permanent representative represented himself at the meeting as “outgoing”.

Senegal ready to send in troops if Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down next month.

Senegal’s troops are on alert to intervene in The Gambia if President Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down next month, the regional bloc Ecowas says.

Mr Jammeh initially accepted defeat in the 1 December poll, but later said it was flawed.

The Ecowas chairman said Senegal had been chosen to lead operations “to restore the people’s wishes” if needed.

President Jammeh has already said he will not be intimidated, saying Ecowas had no authority to interfere.

Mr Jammeh, who has ruled for 22 years, has lodged a case before the Supreme Court to annul the vote after the electoral commission changed some results.

The commission insists the outcome was not affected by an initial error and that property developer Adama Barrow won the poll and should be inaugurated on 19 January.

Marcel Alain de Souza, chairman of the Ecowas commission, said Mr Jammeh had until that date to comply with its mediators.

“If he is not going, we have stand-by forces already alerted and these stand-by forces have to be able to intervene to restore the people’s wish,” he said.

The Gambia, a former British colony, is surrounded on three sides by Senegal.

“Senegal has been selected by its peers to lead the operations but we do not wish to start a conflict,” Mr de Souza said.

“If he loves his people, he has to be able to negotiate an exit door calmly. If it doesn’t happen, the most radical means will be used.”

The BBC’s Umaru Fofana, who has been reporting from The Gambia, says Mr Jammeh’s defiant comments earlier this week make it clear that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, appointed chief mediator by Ecowas, has a fine line to tread.

Mr Jammeh said that although he was a “man of peace”, that did not mean he would not defend himself and the country “courageously, patriotically and win”.

The stalemate is already taking a huge toll on the economy of the small West African country, which is popular with tourists, with the Chamber of Commerce saying businesses have been badly affected, our reporter says.

The Supreme Court says it will hear a case brought by Mr Jammeh’s party to cancel the result on 10 January.

President Jammeh, 51, seized power in 1994 and has been accused of human rights abuses, although he has held regular elections.

The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965.

According to the electoral commission’s final count:

  • Mr Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.3%)
  • President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)
  • A third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)

Results were revised by the electoral commission on 5 December, when it emerged that the ballots for one area had been added incorrectly.

11 Gambian ambassadors ask Yahya Jammeh to quit.

No fewer than 11 serving Ambassadors of The Gambia have called on President Yahya Jammeh to quit and handover power peacefully to President-elect Adama Barrow.

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said this during a press briefing on Thursday.

Mr. Haq said the permanent representative of The Gambia to the UN, Mamadou Tangara, was among the Gambian envoys who appealed to Mr. Jammeh to peacefully transit power.

“The Secretary-General met today with the outgoing Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia to the United Nations, Mamadou Tangara, to discuss the deteriorating political situation in the country.

“The Secretary-General commended Ambassador Tangara for his appeal to President Yahya Jammeh.

“This is along with 10 other Gambian diplomats serving overseas, to facilitate a peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect, Adama Barrow,” Haq said.

He said Mr. Ban expressed deep concern about Mr. Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power, in accordance with the Gambian constitution, despite consistent calls from regional bodies and the international community.

The spokesman said the Secretary-General reiterated the commitment of the UN to support efforts for a peaceful, timely and orderly transfer of power from Jammeh to Barrow.

According to him, the commitment of the UN is in full respect of the will of the Gambian people, working closely with all regional and international partners.

Haq said he could not explain the reasons for Tangara’s status as outgoing and could not say if he had been recalled by Jammeh.

According to him, however, the Gambian permanent representative represented himself at the meeting as “outgoing”.

BREAKING: I will not step down, Yahya Jammeh declares.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said he would not step down and condemned mediation by West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, that aims to get him to leave power after he lost a December 1 election to challenger Adama Barrow.

The comments on state television late on Tuesday were a hardening of the veteran president’s position after days in which hopes mounted he could be persuaded to hand over power at the end of his mandate on January 18, when Mr. Barrow is due to be inaugurated.

“I am not a coward. My right cannot be intimidated and violated.

“This is my position. Nobody can deprive me of that victory except the Almighty Allah,” Mr. Jammeh said.

“Already the ECOWAS meeting was a formality. Before they came, they had already said Jammeh must step down. I will not step down,” he said.

Mr. Jammeh initially accepted the results of an election whose outcome was seen across Africa as a moment of hope.

He is accused by human rights groups of the detention, torture and killing of perceived opponents during his 22-year rule.

On December 9, he reversed his position and said he would challenge in the country’s Supreme Court the results of an election he said was riddled with irregularities.

Gambia: ECOWAS Names Buhari ‘Chief Mediator’ Insists Jammeh Must Handover Power

All Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS member countries have resolved to attend the inauguration of the Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow, on January 18, 2017, in conformity with the Gambian constitution.


According to a communiqué presented at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, the out-going President Yahya Jammeh must uphold the result of the December 1 presidential election in the country and must guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect.


“The Authority calls on President Yahya 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 communiqué added.


The Authority also appointed President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Ghanaian counterpart as Chief Mediator and Co-Mediator respectively in the Gambian political impasse.


The Gbagbo And Koroma Treatment Is Inevitable For Yaya Jammeh – Femi Adeshina

What a helluva week for a man who turns 74 today. In one day, in his birthday week, he flew from Abuja to Monrovia, from there to Freetown, and then to Banjul, in The Gambia. He held meetings lasting many hours, then flew to Freetown, again to Monrovia, and then returned to Abuja by 3.20 a.m. In the afternoon of that same day, when most of those who traveled with him would have given anything to be in slumberland, he presented the 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly. If I am lucky to live to that age, I don’t wish to run such punishing schedule.

But for that reason was Muhammadu Buhari born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, present day Katsina State. For that reason, he came to the world. To serve humanity, serve his country, and make a huge difference. He was sent here to show that it is possible to be squeaky clean, play according to the rules, and live for others, not for primitive accumulation.

The word came out on Monday, a public holiday. We were headed for Gambia the next morning, and we must set forth at dawn. For we were returning to Abuja the same day. By 6 a.m, we were on the way to the airport. A few minutes past 7 a.m, the great bird lifted into the sky. The peace shuttle had begun.

What took President Buhari out at short notice was the developing situation in The Gambia. President, Professor, Dr, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, who had taken power from Sir Dauda Jawara 22 years earlier in a military coup, and who had transmuted to a civilian ruler along the way, had suddenly recanted on an election he lost, and over which he had congratulated the winner. Jammeh said the scales had fallen from his eyes; he had seen the light, and the defeat he had conceded was no longer so. The election was flawed, and there must be a new exercise under a “God-fearing electoral commission.”

This was deja vu. Another Gbagbo scenario, as we had seen in Cote D’Ivoire? A playback of 1998 Sierra Leone, in which ECOMOG troops, led by Nigeria under Sani Abacha, had flushed out the military junta led by Johnny Paul Koroma, which had ousted President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah from power? Will the President, Professor, Dr, and Alhaji be given the Gbagbo and Koroma treatment? It seemed inevitable. But blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Buhari of Nigeria, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and John Mahama of Ghana, decided to wave the olive branch. It was time to try and talk some sense into Jammeh’s head. The presence of Mahama in the team was significant, as he had also conceded defeat in the presidential election held in Ghana only a few days earlier.

After a flight of two hours and forty minutes, we landed in Monrovia. We took aboard Johnson-Sirleaf and some of her aides. A few days earlier, in her capacity as chair of ECOWAS, she had headed for The Gambia. Jammeh did not give her plane permission to land. She had to return home.

Liberia. Land of blood caused by greed for power. Samuel Doe. Yormie Johnson. Charles Taylor. Many others. They wanted power and did not mind turning their country into a killing field. Very sad.

After 47 minutes, we landed in Freetown. Some years back, the town had not been free. The same lust for power. Foday Sankoh led what he called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and his type of revolution was to chop off the hands of innocent people. If he cut it at the wrist, he called it long sleeve. If he butchered at the elbow, he called it short sleeve. Sierra Leone was filled with thousands and thousands of amputees. Sheer madness!

But the day of reckoning came, as it always does. Sankoh was arrested, and put on trial. He fell ill, was wheelchair bound, and eventually died. He escaped the justice of man, but not of God. I was editor of Daily Sun when he died. I remember my headline: ‘Foday Sankoh goes to hell.’ The Mirror of London went the same way. NEXT STOP: HELL. That was the paper’s headline. You can accuse us of being judgmental, playing God. But as far as human beings knew, Foday Sankoh had no other destination. Only hell, to keep a date with his master, Satan.

But I digress too much. We are talking of a peace shuttle in a birthday week. Yes, we took on board President Bai Koroma and his aides, and we were on the way. An hour later, we were overflying Banjul. Would we be permitted to land, or given the Johnson-Sirleaf treatment? Happily, the big bird swooped down, and we landed. I was back in Banjul, 12 years after my last visit. Everything seemed the way I had left it. Only Jammeh had changed. From conceding defeat to calling for another election.

The three presidents joined John Mahama of Ghana at the Coco Ocean Hotel, a lovely resort by the sea. Would the waters be turned crimson red soon? God forbid. That was why the peacemakers were around. For the next seven hours, they met with Adama Barrow, the victor in the election, the leadership of the electoral commission, a delegation of the coalition that gave Barrow victory, Security Chiefs, and many others. Twice, they met with Jammeh at the State House. Before proceedings began, and after. What were they asking for? Simple. Respect the Constitution of your country. Honour your word, and uphold the results of the election. Vacate power next January, as decency requires.

There was no positive commitment from Jammeh, and the parley continues, as ECOWAS meets in Abuja today. On his 74th birthday, President Buhari, instead of wining and dining, would be hosting leaders of the West African sub-region. For that reason was he born. For that purpose was he sent to Nigeria. To serve the country, serve humanity, and show that things could be done differently.

By 10 p.m Nigerian time (9 p.m Gambian time) we boarded the presidential jet. I remembered a primary school song:”Oh Nigeria, oh my native land, Never again may I roam. I’ve been to Ghana, I’ve been to Sierra Leone, I’ve been to Gambia, I’m going back to my native land, never again may I roam.”

It was a day of roaming, but for a good cause. We dropped off the Sierra Leonean contingent first. Freetown, the land of my father. In 1955, my father had sailed from Nigeria to Sierra Leone, in search of the Golden Fleece. He had gone to study at Fourah Bay College, from where he took a degree in Economics, and returned home in 1959. He took to teaching and retired as a school principal in 1971. He had good stories to tell us about Sierra Leone. That was before the country lost its innocence, erupting in an orgy of killings.

We dropped off the Liberian contingent and headed for Abuja. If we had gone straight, we needed only two hours and forty minutes. We spent five hours and five minutes. Double that, and we had spent more than 10 hours in the air, all in West Africa. Blessed are the peacemakers…

Yesterday, President Buhari gave out one of his daughters, Zahra, in marriage. Today, he would be with ECOWAS leaders for most of the day. How do you remind him it’s his birthday? On Wednesday morning, we had got back to Aso Villa at 4 a.m. By 2 p.m, the President was presenting Budget 2017 to a joint session of the National Assembly. On Thursday, he was in Lagos to commission a ship at the Naval Dockyard. What a helluva birthday week! I repeat. If I am lucky to live till 74, I don’t want to run such punishing schedule.
Some people say they used to give them some injections in the military that make them go on and on. True? False? I don’t know. We saw the same of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired General, who worked endless hours. Could the injection theory be true? Somebody, please confirm.

The man, the people, call Mai Gaskiya ( the honest man) turns 74 today. I wish him longer life, in good health. The sailing may be rough and tempestuous on the economy front now, and some people are shouting; carest thou not that we perish? We are hungry and dying. But Nigeria will get to halcyon shores. This land will prosper again. Our captain is at the helm. He is tested and trusted. We can then sleep through the storm.

ONGOING: Meeting to persuade Yahya Jammeh to leave office.

Four African heads of state landed in The Gambia on Tuesday with a mission to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to leave office after his defeat at the ballot box.

Mr Jammeh’s party has vowed to challenge the December 1 vote result in court, leading to an avalanche of international condemnation and multitude of calls for him to cede power to opponent Adama Barrow, who was officially declared the winner.

Mr Jammeh is in an ongoing meeting with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma and Ghana’s outgoing President John Mahama on Wednesday.

The heavyweight delegation of west Africa’s biggest hitters, who have significant ties to The Gambia, will be joined by United Nations West Africa envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The African leaders will then hold separate talks with Barrow, several sources told AFP.

Banjul-based diplomats say Buhari in particular has long been annoyed by Jammeh’s provocative behaviour and disdain for protocol.

Up until now the president of the tiny country of fewer than two million people may have exasperated his peers but has never threatened peace in the sub-region, a situation that has dramatically shifted since Jammeh’s move to void the election.

“It is unacceptable that there is an election and one person turns down the result,” Liberia’s information minister Eugene Nagbe told AFP on Tuesday. “The message of President Sirleaf and her delegation to Jammeh will be that he accepts the result and gives way to smooth transition.”


If Jammeh and the delegation did not reach an agreement, west African states would “contemplate more draconian decisions”, a top official with the regional ECOWAS bloc headed by Sirleaf told French radio station RFI late Monday.

Streets from the airport were quiet as Gambians awaited the leaders’ arrival, but some parents kept their children home from school as a precaution.

President-elect Barrow has told AFP he wants Jammeh to step down “now”, though the longtime leader has the legal right to stay in office until mid-January.

The African Union has also promised to dispatch its own delegation as soon as possible to aid the transfer of power, while a statement released Monday said it rejected “any attempt to circumvent or reverse the outcome of the presidential election.”

Mr Jammeh, who took office in a coup, has led The Gambia for 22 years. Meanwhile it was unclear whether Jammeh’s party would file a complaint with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, thought to be constitutionally the last day possible to contest the election result.

A group of the country’s most influential lawyers has said there is “no legitimate legal mechanism available in The Gambia to hear and determine the election petition”, as Jammeh would have to stuff the court with his own appointees.

The legal body has lain dormant since May 2015 as Jammeh himself sacked many of its judges.

A readjustment of the votes counted in the election was made on Monday last week, reducing the number of ballots for all three candidates but ultimately confirming Barrow’s victory. Overnight the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, warned that The Gambia faced “a very dangerous moment”, citing reports that some military officers have sided with Jammeh in the standoff.

Jammeh has led The Gambia for 22 years since taking power in a coup.


Meanwhile, two journalists working for the Arabic-language service of international news organisation Al-Jazeera were held by security forces in The Gambia and deported, Gambian and Mauritanian sources told AFP on Tuesday.

The channel’s Mauritania bureau chief Zeinebou Mint Erebih and cameraman Mohamed Ould Beidar were taken away from their upmarket hotel by plainclothes officers and detained on Sunday night, sources close to the journalists said.

They were quickly released and transported to Banjul airport where they were deported to neighbouring Senegal, according to Mauritanian sources.

The pair are believed to have entered the country on Tuesday, five days after a contested presidential election was held. Al-Jazeera journalists were refused accreditation prior to the December 1 vote won by opposition leader.

Adama Barrow after 22 years of rule by President Yahya Jammeh, who is now challenging the result.

The network is well known in The Gambia for broadcasting several hard-hitting reports including of street protests in April that led to the jailing of dozens of opposition figures.

Separate sources close to the Gambian communications ministry said the journalists had recently requested an interview with minister Sheriff Bojang, but were told Al-Jazeera was “banned” in the country.

Erebih and Beidar succeeded in interviewing president-elect Barrow, however, with the meeting also published in English and posted online.

OPINION: The Yahya Jammeh problem By Reuben Abati

When President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia conceded defeat after the December 1, Presidential elections in that West African country of 1.9 million people, the gesture was widely hailed and described as an indication of great hope for democracy in Africa and particularly for The Gambia, which Jammeh had ruled with an iron fist for 22 years. That election was also perhaps the most important political development in The Gambia in 52 years – the first change of government through democratic elections. The winner of the Presidential election, Adama Barrow, was the product of a coalition of opposition parties who provided the platform for the people’s yearning for change. Adama Barrow (the British press should please stop referring to him condescendingly as a former Argos’ security guard!), became the symbol of the people’s hopes, and of freedom from Jammeh’s tyrannical rule that was benchmarked by its brutality, love of witchcraft and human rights abuses. Jammeh’s concession made it seem as if all his past sins would be forgiven.


But on December 9, he made a volte-face going on state television to say he could no longer accept the results of the election and that he had decided to annul the results. It is alleged that Jammeh may have resorted to this because of an alleged missing 365, 000 votes and the adjustment of the final results by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) which showed that Adama Barrow had won with less than 20, 000 votes, hence Jammeh cited “unacceptable errors” which had come to light. This, if of any consequence at all, seems contrived.


If Jammeh as candidate in the election has any grouse, the appropriate place to seek redress is in court, and the Gambian Constitution provides for a 10-day window within which to file a petition. That 10-day period of grace expires today. By annulling the election single-handedly without recourse to the courts (the promise to do so by his party, the APRC, is an after-thought), Jammeh is guilty of an assault on the sovereignty of the Gambian people.  His conduct is objectionable and should be considered an act of high treason. Jammeh suffers from the delusion that his love of power and personal ambition is more important than the stability and progress of his country. The people’s will as confidently expressed on December 1 is supreme. Jammeh should be made to realize that he is just another citizen and that The Gambia is not his personal estate.


The African Union, ECOWAS and the UN Security Council as well as the international community in general have condemned the infamy that Jammeh is seeking to foist on his people. But the AU and ECOWAS should take the lead in coming to the rescue of The Gambian people. The long-term objective, in case Yahya Jammeh does not relent, is to invoke the Constitutive Acts and Principles of both bodies on democratic transition and thus “criminalize” any further attempt by Jammeh to violate the democratic process. We appreciate the fact that ECOWAS leaders: chairperson Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and the Presidents of Nigeria (Muhammadu Buhari), Sierra Leone (Ernest Bai Koroma), Ghana (John Dramani Mahama) and Guinea (Alpha Conde) are in fact meeting with President Jammeh today in Banjul. They will also meet with opposition coalition leaders. The primary task of that team should be to bring all parties concerned to the negotiating table, insist on the supremacy of the people’s will and advise Yahya Jammeh to obey the rule of law.

       It is possible that he would refuse to listen. Before now, this Gambian anti-hero has shown a capacity to defy the international community. He once turned himself into a herbal doctor and claimed he had found a cure for HIV/AIDS. In 2013, he pulled his country out of the Commonwealth. He is also opposed to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ironically, the current chief prosecutor of the ICC is a Gambian, Fatou Bensouda. Yahya Jammeh is also an incurable megalomaniac, given his love of titles: H.E. Sheikh Prof. Dr. Alhaji President Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa. On many occasions, he wanted to be Chairman of the ECOWAS, but his colleague-Presidents always turned him down in favour of much junior Presidents who met him in office. For a while he shunned many international engagements, sending his Vice President instead. To be fair to him though, he is not as stupid as he is made to appear internationally and he has probably realized that the game is up. But could Yahya Jammeh be playing a game, to negotiate, to gain amnesty?


His relapse out of that moment of lucidity that saw him conceding defeat on December 2 may well have been caused not by his claim of “unacceptable errors”, but fear. The Gambian situation may end up providing special lessons in how triumphant opposition parties should manage victory in order not to provoke a succession crisis. Dictators in general are afraid of what will happen to them when they are no longer in power and hence, many of them hang on to office until they die or they are disgraced out. While the antidote to this is good governance, it is also pragmatic to situate certain responses within the context of post-election realities.


In The Gambia, the post-election situation has been poorly managed. Jammeh and Barrow have met only once since the election was won and lost. They are practically not on speaking terms. The opposition, apparently due to lack of knowledge and tact, has also been busy threatening to deal with Jammeh as soon as he hands over power. Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, who led the victorious coalition has been busy taunting Jammeh. She is a perfect illustration of how much damage reckless windbaggery can do to opposition politics.


Madame Fatoumata says Jammeh will be prosecuted.  Gambia will rejoin the International Criminal Court and Jammeh will be sent to The Hague for trial. Jammeh says he’d like to retire to his farm in his native Kanilai, Madame says he will not be allowed to do so, because he has “bunkers and treasure” there and enough weapons to start an insurrection. He won’t even be allowed to go abroad. “He can’t leave. If he leaves, he’s going to escape us”, she says. And she adds: “we don’t trust him. The longer we leave him, the more possibilities he has to leave the country to escape the country and even do an insurgency…Senegal is very alert. Nobody trusts him…” She further referred to Jammeh’s wife as a “gold-digger” who should be put on trial and jailed. It is precisely this kind of reckless post-election rhetoric that threatens peaceful ruling-party-to-opposition-tra nsition in Africa. Fatoumata Jallow-Tambalang’s tactlessness has to be managed. She and Samsudeen Sarr should shut up, at least for now!


Yahya Jammeh’s response has just been as vengeful. He quickly promoted loyal officers in the military and got the military hierarchy to recant. He also sent soldiers onto the streets of Banjul and Serekunda and other parts of the country to subdue an already frightened populace. He had admitted the result of the Presidential election as the “will of Allah”, but now he is relying on his own will to protect and preserve himself. The early exposure of the mind of the opposition has driven Jammeh back into the trap of tyranny and unless the situation is well managed, we may have a serious crisis in The Gambia with a well-resourced dictator turned rebel. What is playing out in The Gambia right now is a two-way politics of vengeance, which leaves both the people and the governance process stranded. Getting the country out of that logjam should be the main remit of the ECOWAS mission.


The ECOWAS leaders visiting Banjul must engage The Gambian military hierarchy. Jammeh is in the process of using them to carry out another coup. His first coup was against Dawda Jawara, 22 years ago, the current effort is designed as a coup against the people and the opposition. And even if he does not get away with it, he is determined to plant enough problems that would make The Gambia impossible to govern after his exit. Right now, The Gambian military has lost its mind. Chief of Defence Staff General Ousman Badjie endorsed the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election and pledged loyalty to the people and the elected in-coming government, but after the bribery of military promotions, the same CDS started insisting on another election. A divided, psychopathic military is a serious problem to any country. We saw that in Guinea-Bissau and Mali. The ECOWAS team must make it clear to The Gambian military leaders that there will be no regional backing for any act of lunacy. 


ECOWAS has its own problems. Oftentimes, ECOWAS leaders succumb to unnecessary compromises. They should not return from The Gambia with any unholy compromise. Yahya Jammeh lost the election on December 1. He boasted before then that any election in The Gambia is “rig-proof” and “fraud-proof”. In four previous elections, he won with a landslide. Now, all of a sudden, elections conducted under him are no longer “rig-proof”. He should pack out of the Presidential Villa and allow The Gambia to move on without him. He is the latest victim of coalition opposition politics in Africa. His defeat should send a clear message to the other sit-tight, royalist leaders across the continent. The long-term solution to the Yahya Jammeh problem should be the introduction of a Constitutional term limit for The Gambian Presidency to prevent Jammeh from ruling as he once claimed for “one billion years!”  


Above all, Yahya Jammeh is a spoilsport. He jumped out of his moment of lucidity just when we were celebrating the good news from Ghana. John Mahama is Ghana’s first one-term democratically elected President since 1992, but he has been gallant in defeat and most gracious. There is no chance he will behave like Jammeh. He is educated. He has a good head. He is a thinker and a writer. He certainly has a brighter future ahead of him.

Gambia election: Jammeh heads to Court

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh will now challenge the results of a December 1 election at the Supreme Court, the ruling party said.

Celebrations erupted across the West African nation last week when Mr. Jammeh unexpectedly conceded defeat after the elections commission announced the victory of opposition candidate Adama Barrow.

However, in a dramatic about-face that drew international condemnation, the mercurial former coup leader on Friday decried “serious and unacceptable abnormalities” and called for fresh polls.

In a statement broadcast on state television late on Saturday, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) said it was preparing a petition “against the flawed decision of the Independent Elections Commission”.

The deadline for submitting a challenge to the court is Tuesday.

There is no sitting Supreme Court in Gambia, though there is currently a chief justice, who is Nigerian. In order to hear Mr. Jammeh’s complaint, legal experts believe at least four other judges must be hired.

Rights groups say Mr. Jammeh exerts strong influence over the court.

Three chief justices served between 2013 and 2015. The first, a Nigerian, was fired five weeks after his appointment then arrested and jailed. His Ghanaian successor lasted six months before his dismissal.

Ali Nawaz Chowhan from Pakistan served for three months before abruptly leaving Gambia after acquitting the former navy chief in a treason case.

He later told a Pakistani newspaper that he left because the decision displeased the government.

The last two Gambian judges left the court a year and a half ago.

“Either you do what Jammeh wants you to, or you lose your job or even go to jail,” said Bubacarr Drammeh, a former state prosecutor who fled into exile in the United States earlier this year.


“The election results were correct, nothing will change that,” elections commission head Alieu Momarr Njai told Reuters on Sunday. “If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast. The results are there for everyone to see.”

Mr. Barrow, who has pledged to serve as a transitional leader and step down after three years, said on Saturday that Mr. Jammeh had no constitutional authority to reject the poll results.

The residence in the capital Banjul where Mr. Barrow was staying on Sunday was surrounded by around 30 unarmed supporters who said they were providing security after the police and military declined to protect him.

Banjul was calm though armed soldiers were visible in the streets and manning checkpoints on some roads in the city.

The head of the Gambian army pledged allegiance to Mr. Barrow last week, however a regional diplomatic source who said he had spoken to the president-elect told Reuters he did not feel safe.

“He asks that the international community ensure his security because he feels threatened,” said the source, who asked not to be named.

Mr. Barrow declined to speak to Reuters on Sunday, but Omar Jallow, head of the People’s Progressive Party which backed Mr. Barrow in the election, said Mr. Jammeh’s actions were “nothing more than a coup d’etat.”

“We will not accept anything less than Adama Barrow being sworn in … We will not take this lying down,” Mr. Jallow said.

Mr. Jammeh has long had a troubled relationship with the international community due to accusations of human rights violations including the repression of political opposition and threats of violence and death against homosexuals.

His U-turn on Friday drew condemnation from the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the United States.

“The will of the Gambian people, freely expressed in exercise of their franchise, must be respected by all without precondition,” said Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who currently chairs the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

“Too Late To Say No”, Adama Barrow tells Yahya Jammeh

Gambia’s President-Elect Adama Barrow said that the country’s outgoing leader Yahya Jammeh has no constitutional authority to reject the results of December 1 polls and call for fresh elections.

“I open up a channel of communication to convince him to facilitate a smooth transfer of executive powers in the supreme interest of this country,” he told reporters on Saturday.

The announcement on state television threw the future of the country of 1.8 million into doubt after the unexpected election result ended Jammeh’s authoritarian 22-year rule.

It had been widely seen as a moment of democratic hope and a chance to end repression in a country known as a police state.

“The outgoing president has no constitutional authority to reject the result of the election and order for fresh elections to be held,” Barrow told reporters in Banjul following an emergency meeting under high security.

“I open up a channel of communication to convince him to facilitate a smooth transfer of executive powers in the supreme interest of this country,” he said.

The streets of Banjul were calm on Saturday, although some residents said they were staying at home for fear of violence. A strong police presence remained on the streets.

Under chapter 5 of Gambia’s constitution, candidates have 10 days from the declaration of the results to appeal to the Supreme Court.

It was not immediately clear if Jammeh had done that.

As Gambians brace for a tense standoff, international criticism of Jammeh came in fast. Following the United States and Senegal, the African Union on Saturday weighed in, calling Jammeh’s statement “null and void”.

The U.N. and regional body ECOWAS called on the armed forces to stay neutral. Diplomats have voiced private concerns that a faction of security forces from Jammeh’s Jola ethnic minority might protect Jammeh, potentially provoking broader conflict along ethnic lines.

Senegal, which has Gambia’s only land border, has called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and “solemnly” warned Jammeh not to harm Senegal’s interests or its citizens in Gambia.

ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations called jointly for all parties to “reject violence and peacefully uphold the will of the people”.

But in a sign that early mediation efforts are floundering, Senegal’s foreign minister said that Gambian authorities had refused entry to the chair of regional body ECOWAS.

“Johnson Sirleaf was supposed to fly in today, but Jammeh said ‘not at the moment,’” Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye told Reuters. It was not clear if the plane had already taken off.

It was unclear what the Security Council is planning, but military intervention is one option, diplomats said, without giving details. There is precedent for this: for example, Senegal’s army intervened in Gambia in 1981 during a coup.

A third party candidate in last week’s election, Mama Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress also rejected Jammeh’s call for another election.

“Your swift decision earlier to concede defeat and your subsequent move to call Adama Barrow to congratulate him was lauded throughout the world,” Kandeh said. “We therefore prevail on you to reconsider your decision.”

JUST IN: Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh concedes defeat, ends 22 year rule.

President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia for 22 years, has conceded defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow, the chairman of the independent electoral commission said Friday.


“It’s really unique that someone who has been ruling this country for so long has accepted defeat,” Alieu Momar Njie told reporters ahead of the release of the results of Thursday’s presidential election.

Gambian state television told AFP that the 51-year-old head of state, who seized power in a coup in 1994, would make a statement later in the day to congratulate Barrow.


Jammeh was running for a fifth term with his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), while Barrow ran for eight political groups who united for the first time to field a single candidate.


The African Union sent a handful of observers to this country of 1.9 million but there are no observers from the European Union or the West African regional bloc ECOWAS because the Gambian government did not grant them accreditation.


Jammeh said before the vote that he would not allow even peaceful demonstrations, dismissing them as “loopholes that are used to destabilise African governments.”


In a statement Thursday, rights groups criticised the circumstances under which the vote took place, especially the cutting of internet services and international calls.


All internet services were blocked at about 8 pm Wednesday night, while messaging services such as Whatsapp and Viber were blocked weeks before the vote, Human Rights Watch said.