The back and forth between President Jammeh and other countries of the wide world about his defeat at last year’s December polls did not end with the start of the new year.
In fact, the situation heated up when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) deployed troops to the Gambia on Thursday after President Jammeh continued in his refusal to accept the win of president-elect Adama Barrow.
President Jammeh declared the move “a declaration of war”. He spoke in a New Year’s message broadcast on Saturday where he said that the “blatant and one-sided” approach of ECOWAS, “disqualified it from providing mediation services”. In President Jammeh’s words;
“Let me make very clear, we are ready to defend this country against any aggression, the impasse will continue with the risk of escalation into a military confrontation”.
“What we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and allow the Gambians to elect who they want to be their president in a free and fair election.“
Following his declarations, Gambia’s opposition has come out to say that President Jammeh could be considered a rebel leader if he takes up arms and doesn’t step down later this month. The spokesman of the opposition coalition, Halifa Sallah, said on Monday that by January 19, the President would be a private citizen of Gambia and as such would have no constitutional mandate to be in command of the armed forces of The Gambia.
Halifa Sallah read a statement by the coalition which declared;
“Any president whose term of office expires who takes up arms against an incoming president whose term should begin according to law, would be regarded by the international community as a rebel leader,”
The summary of the Gambian situation is that President Jammeh is challenging the results of the December elections in court while President-elect Adama Barrow is preparing for a January 19 inauguration and the two men are on a collision course that may result in chaos in Gambia.
The intervention by African and International bodies seems to have done little or nothing to turn President Jammeh from his determination to contest the results.