PRESS STATEMENT on Political Development in the Gambia
The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) demands Outgoing President Yaya Jammeh to Step Down. WACSOF is deeply concerned about the information that the Outgoing President of the Republic of the Gambia Yaya Jammeh has rejected the December 1 presidential elections and called for a new vote. Just few days ago, it was the same President who conceded defeat and went ahead to call and congratulate the winning candidate, President-elect Adama Barrow of the Opposition Coalition and promised to support him for a smooth transition. Mr. Jammeh has always contended that the Gambia’s electoral system is rig-proof ad fraud-proof and for four consecutive times, he was re-elected by his people without any complain from him. In fact, the opposition in the Gambia has always complained of severe electoral malpractices on his part, which he always ignored. The opposition was so unsuccessful with its demands for electoral reforms with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that they had to boycott the 2012 parliamentary elections, yet without succeeding to get any changes of the laws or forcing Yaya Jammeh to abide by the rules. After being voted against by the Gambians on December 1st, nine days later, Mr. Jammeh said that the vote was wrong, and accused the IEC of unfairness.
WACSOF holds that Outgoing President Yaya Jammeh has reneged on his own words and has failed to demonstrate the leadership that the Gambia and Africa deserves. The wave of democracy sweeping in the sub-region and in Africa is unstoppable, and therefore the civil society in the region urges Outgoing President Jammeh to stand by his December 2 statement in which he conceded defeat and step down.
WACSOF would like to call on ECOWAS as well as the AU, EU,UN and the international community as a whole to put pressure on Yaya Jammeh to relinquish power as per the results of the December 1 presidential election and in line with the transitional provisions of the Gambian constitution. Failure to abide by the rule of law potentially threatens the peace and security of the Gambia and the sub-region for which the international community must stand with the people of the Gambia to have their voice and will prevail over the dishonor and threats of Outgoing Pres. Yaya Jammeh.
Finally WACSOF wishes to call on all Gambians to stand firm, resolute and united in peace and calm to protect the election and defend their sovereignty against tyranny. For 22 years the Gambia has become a pariah state and widely isolated because of the misrule of Yaya Jammeh. Gambians did well in maintaining peace and calm to peacefully vote out a brutal dictator for which they must be proud and remain prepared to defend that achievement. WACSOF reminds the Outgoing President Yaya Jammeh that he bears responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in his country. He will be held to account indeed for any unfortunate incidents that may erupt in the Gambia. Similarly, WACSOF calls on the men and women of the Gambia Armed Forces to refuse to take orders to harm the people of the Gambia. Members of the military are reminded that by international law, any soldier who commits any atrocity will be held personally responsible even if one is ordered to carry out such an act. Thus soldiers must remember that they are not tools of Outgoing President Jammeh but indeed are required to defend the will and power of the people of the Gambia as expressed in the December 1 presidential election in which Outgoing President Yaya Jammeh lost to Adama Barrow.
Done in Abuja this 15th December 2016
Mr. Awal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Ag. General Secretary.