Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gambia: ECOWAS fact finding mission made modest progress, Jammeh bars Ibn Chambers from meeting

Jammeh in white,L.  Sirleaf ,Buhari, R, Mahama and Koroma
Initial reports reaching us following the conclusion of the ECOWAS presidential fact finding mission led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Chairman of ECOWAS are not encouraging.  

The rest of the delegation that met with Jammeh included Presidents Buhari of Nigeria, Koroma of Sierra Leone and outgoing President Mahama of Ghana who lost his bid for second term.

The meeting with Jammeh, according to sources, did not go as well as initially hoped.   After receiving his guests in his office, he left them seated for a long time before he joined them in an abbreviated meeting, suggesting that Jammeh has no intention of stepping down to allow the legitimate leader of the Gambia, H.E. Adama Barrow, to assume the presidency.  

By all indications, Jammeh do not intend to respect the will of the Gambian voters who reject his bid for a 5th term as president.  Jammeh also displayed a hostile disposition towards his guests by insisting on meeting heads of states only which effectively barred Mohammed Ibn Chambers, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and had to leave Jammeh's office.  

Following his meeting, the members of the delegation drove to the Coco Ocean Hotel where they met with the president-elect and members of the transition team.  As a fact finding mission, the delegation met with all parties with a view to drawing up a set of recommendations designed to resolve the political stalemate.  

A source observed however that all is not lost because “what is more promising is that the delegation encouraged the Coalition to continue with their preparation for the handing over.” The delegation also “urged the supporters of the Coalition to maintain decorum during the process.”
The delegation view the process that they have started as a way forward towards the smooth transfer of power tp President-elect H.E. Adama Barrow.

The next consultative meeting is scheduled for December 17th 2016 when all issues are to be finalized.

The ECOWAS delegation also met with the embattled Chairman and members of the Independent Electoral Commission.  President  Buhari of Nigeria left earlier than the rest of his colleagues to return to Abuja.