Liberian President and Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has re-emphasized that the position of ECOWAS relative to The Gambia’s electoral saga remains unchanged.
President Sirleaf wants Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to respect the Constitution of The Gambia as well as the result of the December 1 presidential election which opposition politician Adama Barrow won by official results declared.
The Liberian leader said in a telephone interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Monday that this position by ECOWAS has been conveyed on several occasions in the sub-regional group’s quest to resolve the ongoing electoral wrangling in The Gambia.
President Sirleaf’s statement comes in the wake of a telephone conversation she held with the defeated Gambian leader Jammeh on Sunday, January 15, in which talks centering on the ongoing mediation efforts by ECOWAS was made public by Jammeh without her consent.
Relative to the conversation, President Sirleaf told the BBC that Jammeh telephoned her to make an appeal to the ECOWAS authority to make Judges available to address the electoral crisis.
According to President Sirleaf, this request from Jammeh was absolutely nothing new as he (Jammeh) has made similar appeals to the mediating team twice in Banjul, Gambia.
“Unfortunately, he recorded and televised our conversation without informing me about his intent to do so. But let me make this very clear, there is no change in ECOWAS’ position, the constitution of The Gambia must be respected,” President Sirleaf said.
Amidst the rising international and local pressure for Jammeh to peacefully hand-over power to his successor, it is not clear whether or not he will be willing to do so as evidenced by his action to annul the results of the elections.
However, the president-elect Adama Barrow, in the wake of the volatile situation in the country, has also insisted that he will be inaugurated on Thursday, January 19.
Jammeh has served as Gambia’s leader for 22 years since coming into power through a military coup in 1994.