Mahama together with other ECOWAS delegates are to visit The Gambia’s President in order to make a second attempt at convincing him to step down.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations (UN) who have been mediating in the recent political impasse in The Gambia, have decided to make a second attempt at persuading the President to accept the last election results and subsequently vacate office.
Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh was narrowly defeated by opponent Amadu Barrow in the country’s last election held on December 1, 2016. However, Jammeh who readily conceded defeat surprisingly revoked his concession some weeks after the election. The President has since filed an application at the Supreme Court challenging the outcome of the election. Meanwhile, he is supposed to hand over power on the 18th of January, 2017.
The ECOWAS had earlier on in December, sent delegates comprising Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who was appointed Chief Mediator in the Gambia issue; then President John Mahama of Ghana who is co-mediator; President of Sierra Leon, Ernest Bai Koroma and President of Liberia cum Chairman of ECOWAS, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. to talk Jammeh into respecting the constitution. Unfortunately, their trip yielded no positive results.
Following the futile efforts to get Jammeh to accept the results, the ECOWAS deployed a Standby Force to The Gambia with the charge to uphold the results of the election.
However, since the ECOWAS has chosen peaceful mediation over military intervention in the issue, they have therefore decided to make a second trip to Gambia to once again try to convince President Jammeh.
The decision for ECOWAS delegates to visit Jammeh the second time was reached in a summit held over the Gambian political crisis in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday, January 9, 2017. The African leaders at the summit agreed to this time around, “discuss with Jammeh the need and imperative to respect the constitution”.
Former Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama who recently handed over powers to Nana Akufo-Addo was also in attendance at the ECOWAS meeting.
Mahama had earlier been appointed a co-mediator for the Gambia crisis alongside Nigerian President Buhari who was appointed chief mediator. The appointment was made at the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
The decision for Mahama to continue with the assignment was reached in an ECOWAS meeting held on the sidelines of the his hand-over ceremony held on Saturday.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new President in Ghana, President Sirleaf said that the current political impasse in the Gambia is probably the “most difficult situation” facing the ECOWAS at the moment. She however assured t that hey will do all within their powers to sustain peace and democracy in the country.