Disgraced outgoing Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has again come out clearly to repeat his position that he will not step down when his term ends insisting that the December 1st elections where not fair.
Speaking at a meeting with a delegation from the Africa Bar Association at State House on Tuesday aired on state TV, Mr Jammeh said he is proceeding with the court petition challenging the results citing several irregularities which be blamed for his lost.
“I am not a coward. My rights cannot be intimidated and violated. This is my position. Nobody can deprive me of that victory except the Almighty Allah,” Mr Jammeh said.
It could be recalled that The Gambia went to the polls on December 1st, 2016 and incumbent President Yahya Jammeh was defeated. He conceded defeat and later made a U-turn, rejecting and calling the results ‘null and void’. Since then, the country plunges into a political nightmare and there have been calls by various national institutions and organizations, regional and international bodies for Mr Jammeh to respect the will of the people.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Jammeh condemned the mediation by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS that aimed to get him to leave power after he lost the December 1 election to challenger and President-elect Adama Barrow.
According to him, this conflict cannot be peacefully resolved when institutions concern are making threats and disrespecting facts, citing ECOWAS position towards the situation as violation of its laws on ‘interfering in internal affairs’ of other states.
A heavyweight quartet of West African leaders Fact Finding Mission was sent to The Gambia. The delegation led by ECOWAS chair and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 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.
“Already, the ECOWAS meeting was a formality. Before they came, they had already said Jammeh must step down. But I will not step down,” he told visiting members of the Africa Bar Association.
Maintaining his position, Mr Jammeh who referred to the President-elect Adama Barrow as so-called by rubbishing his legitimacy, repeated that the only way is to re-organise election so that every Gambian will vote.
He said: “I will die for what I believe. Who are they (Opposition coalition, ECOWAS, AU and the West) to ask me to go. It’s disrespectful to our Constitution. Even they (opposition) won legally, I have 60 days to stay before leaving”.
Still disputing the fairness of the election, Mr Jammeh insist he will leave office only based on what he called ‘the will of the people in fair election’ saying he better die than to be cheated by the electoral commission and been force by foreign powers to step down.
Meanwhile, President-elect Adama Barrow is expected to be sworn-in on January 19th, 2017, to be attended by various West African leaders as contained in the Abjua Summit communiqué of December 17th, 2016.
By Alhagie Jobe