By Alhagie Jobe: Benin President Patrice Talon has announced he will attend the inauguration of Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow on the 19th, January, in Banjul.
The Béninoise leaders made the confirmation during a visit to Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday saying he will travel into Banjul with Ivorian President Alassan Ouattara.
“We welcomed the statements of President Yahya Jammeh, who reassure us that we are emerging from the crisis. We will travel together to Banjul on the 19th and this fear will be behind us. We are finding definite ways of resolving this ‘small crisis’ in Gambia (…) and we will find solution very soon and I say very soon,” he insisted.
You may recall that President Yahya Jammeh lost the elections of December 1st to opposition coalition leader Adama Barrow, ending his 22 years ruled. He initially conceded defeat, later made a U-turn declaring the results null and void and insisted he will not hand over power. He has since filed a petition to the country’s Supreme Court but last Tuesday, the Court ruled that it is totally impossible to rule on election results petition until May as there are no judges to constitute the court which has not been functioning for the past two years.
Since Mr Jammeh plunged the country into a political crisis, he has been under considerable external pressure, including ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN, to hand over power peacefully at the end of his term, which ends on 19 January, though he defiantly continue to denounce what he called an “unprecedented foreign interference” in the domestic in the internal affairs of the country.
Meanwhile, West African leaders has since started peaceful negotiations and visited the Gambia and met all parties in the crisis. Early this week, Nigerian President Muhammadou Buhari who is the chief negotiator to the crisis hosted a mediation meeting in Abuja where it was resolved that they will visit Banjul this Friday, January 13th in Banjul. The leaders are expected to tell Mr Jammeh that it is imperative for him to respect the constitution and the will of the Gambian people.
In a televised statement late on Tuesday outgoing President Jammeh announced the appointment of a mediator general and ready to present a General Amnesty Bill to the National Assembly to pass into law to avoid any witch-hunt as a good start to find a lasting peaceful solution to the crisis.