By Alhagie Jobe

 

The African Union Commission on Saturday called a statement by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh rejecting his loss in December 1st polls “null and void” since he had already conceded defeat.

 

The Chairperson of the Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma strongly urged President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a speedy, peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power to the new authorities and also called on Gambia’s security forces to remain neutral.

 

In a Press statement issued on Saturday following the U-turn by defeated Gambian President Yahya Jammeh rejecting the last week election results, the Chairperson of the Commission said the statement made on 9th December, 2016, by outgoing President Yahya Jammeh who had already publicly and gracefully recongnised that the victory of President-elect Barrow is the true expression of the will of the Gambian people, is null and void.

 

“The Chairperson of the Commission strongly urges President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power to the new President of The Gambia, as decided by the people of the country. In the current context, she calls on the Gambian defense and security forces to remain strictly neutral” the statement noted.

 

The AU boss recalled the press statement of the 642nd meeting of the Peace and Security Council held on 6th December 2016, which congratulated President Yahya Jammeh for the peaceful conduct and excellent conditions for the holding of the presidential election, as well as for his well-appreciated acceptance of the outcome of the election, by recognizing the victory of the candidate Adama Barrow.

 

The Chairperson of the Commission further reaffirmed the imperative need for the concerned Gambian stakeholders to strictly comply with the rule of law and the respect of the will of the people as clearly expressed during the 1st December presidential elections that have been labelled free, fair and transparent, recalling the relevant provision of Article 23 (4) of the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

 

The AU boss reiterated the body’s readiness to work closely, as usual, with regional and international stakeholders, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations, in assisting the Gambian stakeholders to find the best way towards a speedy and peaceful transition and transfer of power.

 

“The Chairperson of the Commission, recalling the relevant AU instruments, notably the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, will seize urgently the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on this matter, inorder to enable the organ to take the appropriate decisions with regards to the situation in The Gambia” the Chairperson’s statement ended.