The Liberian President, who is also the chairperson of ECOWAS has said that the West African leaders are pursuing mediation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in Gambia.
Asked if the regional group would deploy a standby force soon, she said “no”, pointing out that ECOWAS is closely monitoring proceedings in Gambia’s Supreme Court where His Excellency the President, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa is challenging the poll result.
Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Saturday after a meeting among regional leaders in Ghana’s capital Accra that the regional bloc ECOWAS did not yet intend 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,” Sirleaf, who chairs the 15-member body, said.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said ECOWAS would hold a meeting on Monday in Abuja to discuss further steps.
“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. Buhari has been appointed by ECOWAS as mediator.
According to Reuters report, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the top UN 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.
Reacting to the news in an interview with GRTS (TV), Hon. Seedy SK Njie said, “It tells the whole world that His Excellency President Jammeh’s stance is of justice and truth. He made it clear that The Gambia is a sovereign state and it has its own laws.
“What happened on 5th December was a clear testimony that every ordinary person will cast doubt in the electoral results,” he said.
He opined that “His Excellency the President would continue to call on all Gambians to respect the rule of law; to go on their normal businesses as the matter is before the Supreme Court and there is nothing that is going to happen in this country.”
Hon. Njie reiterated that each and every Gambian would defend the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country.
“President Jammeh is a man of truth and Allah is with those who are with the truth. So, therefore, in as much as we welcome the Ecowas decision, we will continue to tell Gambians that APRC has a case and there are over 25, 000 people who have petitioned the election through the Kanifing Municipality’s Mayor with 5, 000 people from KM and His Excellency the President with about over 20, 000 people. We have also seen the APRC filed in a petition,” he disclosed.
The lawmaker said the Supreme Court as dictated by the Constitution of The Gambia under Section 49, is the only court that could validate the results. “As a party, we recognise our rights to go to the Court and His Excellency the President is the President of The Gambia,” he concluded.
by Musa Ndow & Alieu Ceesay