The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is considering measures against Gambia’s outgoing president Yahya Jammeh to step down before his term ends on January 19.
The chairperson of the regional bloc, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday told the community, at its 50th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government in Abuja, that measures will be taken to bring the matter to an end.
“It’s now important that the authority at this summit considers measures to bring the matter to a successful conclusion before January 19 … when the mandate of the current President expires,” she told the summit.
The measures are expected to be agreed on by the end of the three-day summit on Monday.
President Sirleaf and three other presidents in the region including Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and John Dramani Mahama of Ghana visited President Yahya Jammeh on December 13 to convince him to step down. They however failed.
Jammeh lost the December 1 elections to an opposition coalition leader Adama Barrow. Days after his concession, he annulled the results and called for another election after he accused the electoral commission of election irregularities.
After several condemnation by international bodies and countries, Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party said that it was preparing to challenge the result at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has not sat in more than a year, so judges will have to be appointed before they can consider the president’s legal complaint.
Gambia’s opposition coalition led by President-elect Adama Barrow has stated that it is unconstitutional for outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to appoint judges to hear his election petition.
By Ismail Akwei