Thursday, January 5, 2017

Residents fleeing the capital city of Banjul

Banjul - Barra ferry 
As the deadline approaches when Yaya Jammeh must decide whether he will leave voluntarily or be ejected from State House draws near, a nervous population in the capital city of Banjul and environs is rapidly moving out of harm's way in anticipation of an ECOWAS-led military action against what will be an illegal regime after the 18th January. Meanwhile, Yaya Jammeh, is still holed up at his official State House residence.

Unless Jammeh steps down and peacefully transfers power to the newly-elected Adama Barrow, the ECOWAS Commission has empowered member states to constitute a military force to be led by Senegal to enforce the decision of ECOWAS.
Banjulians fleeing to safety
Meanwhile, Jammeh is in the process of attempting to hire a minimum of four and a maximum of six mercenary Supreme Court judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone to deliberate on his party's Court petition demanding the annulment of the results of the December 1st presidential elections which was won by real estate developer Adama Barrow.

It is evident from recent statements of the Jammeh regime that the claims made by the Nigerian Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle, that the government has hired judges last July are blatantly false because no evidence has been provided neither by him nor the Minister of Justice to the contrary.   We continue to wait for proof that indeed Supreme Court judges have been hired in time for the 10th July Supreme Court sitting.

While ECOWAS prepares to exercise the military option, the Nigerian President and ECOWAS mediator Muhammadu Buhari has sent his Mediation Support Team (MST) to the Gambia to meet with stakeholders to ensure that a successful transfer of power takes place January 19th.  The MST's initial mission is the first phase of the preparatory and support work that will lead to a high level meeting of President Buhari and the stakeholders,

According to both Presidents Buhari and Macky Sall, a peaceful resolution of the political impasse is still preferred to the robust military option which is still on the table.  The choice is Jammeh's to make - go peacefully without preconditions (at least, as far as ECOWAS is concerned) or be dealt a severe blow.