West African leaders, under the aegis of ECOWAS, have sent an unmistakable signal to President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia that they would not allow him to stay longer than 18 January in power.
The leaders at their meeting in Abuja resolved to attend the inauguration of the Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow, on Jan. 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 outgoing President Yahya Jammeh must uphold the result of the Dec. 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.
Four of the ECOWAS leaders, Muhammadu Buhari, John Mahama of Ghana, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone and ECOWAS chairperson, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, visited Banjul on Tuesday to persuade Jammeh to accept the result of the election.
Although President Buhari said Jammeh was receptive to their discussions, his obduracy in accepting the result of the poll became a major issue at the ECOWAS talks in Abuja Saturday.
The 50th session of ECOWAS, therefore, took some far reaching decision, including the upholding the result of 1st December 2016 election in the Gambia.
The session also resolved to guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect Mr. Adama Barrow.
The decisions were contained in a communiqué released on Saturday at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Abuja.
All Head of States would attend the inauguration of the Barrow, who they vowed should be sworn in on 19th January 2017 in conformity with the Gambian constitution.
The session called on the Government and the Coalition Parties to show restraint in order to preserve national unity in the Gambia.
They called on all parties to respect the will of the Gambian people as expressed by the Presidential election results of 1st December 2016.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria will serve as the Mediator in the Gambia and John Dramani Mahama of Ghana as the Co-chair.
“The mediation process shall be conducted on the basis of terms agreed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.’’
They noted President Yahya Jammeh had initially accepted the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission on 2 December 2016 and congratulated the new President-elect.
He later changed his mind, though, based on corrections to the initial results by the Electoral Commission which however did not alter the outcome of the election.
They also lauded the initiative that fielded a high-level mission of Heads of State comprising Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Buhari, Koroma and Mahama, to review the political situation with all stakeholders.
The leaders called on 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.
They expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation occasioned by Boko Haram attacks in North-East Nigeria, affecting 14 million people, 7 million of which require humanitarian aid, the majority being children.
They also regretted the high number of displaced people and refugees in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
The Authority commends the Governments of Nigeria and Niger, as well as other countries who are taking in refugees as well as partners, for their efforts at resolving the humanitarian crisis.
The Authority decides to create a special solidarity Fund for the victims of terrorism and calls on the international community to support the implementation of the ‘Buhari Plan” for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of North East Nigeria.
The Authority reaffirms its deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis in Guinea Bissau due to the inability of political stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution.
It stressed that the crisis undermines the implementation of commitments made by development partners since March 2015, to support the economic and social reconstruction of the country.
The West African leaders also took decisions affecting the integration of the region, including economy and movement.
Download the communique here: FIFTIETH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ECOWAS AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
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