Gambia’s outgoing President Yahya Jammeh has declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday less than 48 hours before his mandate ends on January 19th and to hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow.
The State of Emergency Resolution passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday during an Extra-Ordinary Session will be effective for 90 days effective the 17th January to 17th April, 2017.
The National Assembly also passed the Resolution extending the life of the National Assembly for a further period of ninety (90) days effective from 11 April-11 July 2017. Both resolutions were tabled by House Majority leader Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta who is also the NAM for Serrekunda East.
The declaration which represents a hardening of Mr Jammeh’s opposition is entirely meant to subvert the Constitution and to keep Mr Jammeh in power until Supreme Court judges arrive and sit over his election results petition. Mr Jammeh lost the December elections, conceded defeat and later reversed his decision prompting a two-month political impasse in the country.
Declaring the State of Emergency on national TV, Mr Jammeh said cited powers conferred upon him by the Provisions of Section 34 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, to declare a state of public emergency throughout the Islamic Republic of Gambia.
He cited few points as what necessitated the declaration of the state of emergency particularly the unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the 1st December Presidential Elections, and also in the internal affairs of the Gambia, and the unwarranted hostile atmosphere threatening the sovereignty, peace, security and stability of the country.
According to him, if the existing situation is allowed to continue, may lead to a state of public emergency.
He added: “The inability of the Supreme Court to convene as a result of the non-appearance of the Judges to hear the election petitions, mainly influenced by foreign powers and their agents, in an effort to thwart the constitutionally mandated process, as captured in an audio recording of the absconded chairman of the IEC discussing on how plans have been made to ensure the Supreme Court Judges will not sit on time to hear the petitions against the flawed results he published” he noted as another point of declaring the state of emergency..
Another reason of declaration according to Jammeh is the current state of fear and confusion created by some of the political players in the country, which could lead to the breakdown of law and order.
He said: “The need to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum pending the determination of the petitions at the Supreme Court and the application for an injunction against swearing in Mr. Adama Barrow or anybody as president of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, until the Supreme Court decides on the 1st December 2016 Presidential Election results. Under this state of public emergency, civil liberties are to be fully respected while all citizens and residents In the Gambia are banned from any acts of disobedience to the Laws of the Gambia, incitement to violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace” he stated.
Mr Jammeh immediately instructed his security forces to maintain absolute law and order throughout the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Jammeh’s mandate as President ends mid-night on Wednesday, January, 18th. He is still defiant and refuses to step down despite ECOWAS mediation efforts to resolve the crisis.
Nigeria and other West African countries are preparing to intervene militarily. The Chiefs of Defence staffs of West African countries met Monday in Abuja to discuss strategies on the best way to get Jammeh out. Some West African countries will be contributing troops including Nigerian, for the operation and the United Nations and African Union has offered support to regional body ECOWAS for the plan.