Halifa Sallah, spokesman of the Gambia’s opposition coalition has again reminded President Yahya Jammeh that he has got no power under the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia to stop next week’s inauguration of Adama Barrow as the country’s third president.
Mr Jammeh’s mandate is due to expire on January 18th following his surprised defeat in last month’s election by former property developer, Adama Barrow.
The results are being challenge at the supreme court by Mr Jammeh after initially conceding defeat and praising the country’s electoral system as rigged proof.
Unfortunately for him, the court is unable to hold a hearing until May – as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries – and Mr Jammeh has said he is going nowhere until then.
But Halifa Sallah, spokesman of the opposition coalition said it is neither in line with law nor common sense for a loser to have the right to abrogate or suspend the right of the victor until an election petition is determined.
He said Mr Barrow was declared duly elected by the country’s electoral commission which is empowered by the constitution to hold elections and declare a winner.
“The office of President-elect Barrow has made it absolutely clear that the exercise of the right to file an election petition by the loser does not deprive the winner of the right to prepare for inauguration as president of the republic on 19 January 2017,” Mr Sallah said.
“The constitution states that the person declared elected as president shall take the prescribed oath and assume office on the day the term of office of the incumbent president expires. I think this is very clear. I think there is no possibility of distortion.
“The status of an election petition should be regarded as a peripheral issue and should, therefore, not hamper any preparation for the inauguration.”