The heavyweight quartet of West African leaders Fact Finding Mission to The Gambia has concluded a day of talks in Banjul on the ongoing political crisis but no deal reach so far.
The delegation led by ECOWAS chair and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also included Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma and Ghana’s outgoing President John Mahama as well as the UN Africa envoy Mohamad Ibn Chambas.
They were in The Gambia on a fact finding mission on the current political crisis that started after the December 1st Presidential election in which Mr Jammeh was defeated by opposition Coalition candidate Adama Barrow, ending his 22 years rule.
Jammeh had earlier surprised the world by initially conceding defeat, call the winner and congratulated him but then reversed his stand a week after, triggering an avalanche of international condemnation and a multitude of calls for him to cede power peacefully.
Meanwhile, during the day-long talks, the ECOWAS Heads of States and UN officials met with both side – Outgoing President Jammeh at the State House and President-Elect Adama Barrow with the Coalition leaders at the Coco Ocean Resort & Spa Hotel.
The Heads of States also met with the IEC chairman Alieu Moma Njai and other foreign diplomats in the country.
It was however announced that the team is on a Fact Finding Mission to hear from both sides and later come up with a resolution.
Information received by this medium revealed that nothing conclusive or a deal has been reached but what is more promising is that the Heads of States delegation has encouraged the Coalition to continue with their preparation for the handing over and also urged the supporters to maintain decorum during the process. The leaders said that the discussion is a way forward towards a smooth transfer of power to President-Elect Adama Barrow.
Halifa Sallah, a member of the opposition Coalition told waiting journalists that though nothing conclusive but that the process is a beginning of a breakthrough.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is also the ECOWAS chairwoman also told waiting journalist that they’ve met all the stakeholders and they said there will be peace and security if there is smooth transition.
When asked whether he had been receptive to the delegation, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari told journalists “very much so”.
The delegation later returned to the State House to meet outgoing President Jammeh before departing to their various countries. They will now report to back to the ECOWAS and UN which will sit over the matter on Saturday, December 17th, 2016.
By Alhagie Jobe