Monday, 12 December 2016

UN demands Gambia’s Jammeh hand over power

New York — The UN Security Council on Saturday demanded that Gambia’s leader Yahya Jammeh hand over power to the president-elect after he rejected the election results in a dramatic political U-turn.


In a unanimous statement, the 15 council members called on Jammeh to “respect the choice of the sovereign people of The Gambia, as he did on December 2, 2016, and to transfer, without condition and undue delay, power to the President-elect, Adama Barrow.”

In power for the past 22 years in the West African country, Jammeh surprised his critics when he accepted defeat a day after the December 1 vote.

But he reversed course on Friday, announcing he no longer accepted the results.

Council members “strongly condemned” Jammeh’s decision to reject the results and call for a new election.

They urged him to “carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process and they requested that the security of the president-elect Adama Barrow, and that of all Gambian citizens be fully ensured”.

A consensus candidate backed by a coalition of opposition groups, Barrow on Saturday urged Jammeh to accept defeat, arguing he had no legal standing for the turnaround.

Senegal, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, has requested a meeting to discuss the crisis, which could be held on Monday, diplomats said.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “dismayed” by Jammeh’s rejection of the election results and called on him to “fully respect the outcome of the election”.

Ban called for a “peaceful, timely and orderly transfer of power, in full respect of the will of the Gambian people as expressed in the election”, said a statement from his spokesperson.

The appeal to Jammeh was issued after Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was dispatched to Banjul by the West African Ecowas group to defuse the crisis, but was prevented from entering the country.

Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye accused Jammeh of refusing to allow Sirleaf’s plane to land in the capital.

Ban and the Security Council urged restraint from any statements or actions that could lead to violence.

Meanwhile, Liberian leader Sirleaf refused entry into Gambia

Meanwhile, The Gambia stopped Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of a regional mission, from entering the country on Saturday.
Sirleaf, who currently heads the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), was headed to The Gambia but her plane was not allowed to land, amid a heavy deployment of security forces.

“Yahya Jammeh has prevented the landing of the Ecowas president’s plane,” Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye, referring to Sirleaf, told private television channel TFM.

Ahead of Jammeh’s statement, the atmosphere tightened in Banjul, and on Saturday troops and police were on the streets and barricades were erected at strategic places, according to an AFP correspondent.

Jammeh, speaking on state television late Friday, said a probe into the December 1 vote had revealed “unacceptable errors” from electoral authorities, and he would no longer concede to his opponent Adama Barrow.

Senegal’s foreign ministry on Friday criticised Jammeh’s change of heart, saying it “rejected and condemned” his remarks and was “surprised” by them.
UN demands Gambia’s Jammeh hand over power
“Senegal demands that the outgoing president unconditionally respect the democratic choice freely expressed by the Gambian people,” the ministry said in a statement — AFP.
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