Jammeh faces isolation

Three West African presidents will once again return to Gambia to persuade Yahya Jammeh to stick to his original promise to go quietly.

11 January 2017 | Africa

West African leaders announced on Monday they would return to Gambia to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down, as the strongman was left looking increasingly isolated at home and abroad.

The mandate for Jammeh's five-year term runs out on January 18, after which president-elect Adama Barrow is supposed to take power.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari would accompany Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ghana's former president John Dramani Mahama to impress upon Jammeh “the imperative to respect the constitution”, Nigeria's foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama said in Abuja.

The same West African leaders at a meeting in Abuja, along with Senegalese President Macky Sall, expressed concern about worsening security, including a crackdown on the media, which has seen a number of radio stations taken off air, Onyeama said.

Onyeama said the hope is that a peaceful transfer of power will take place, but that force may be used as a last resort.



Imminent defections

“Violence should be avoided but nothing is ruled out,” he told reporters.

The same leaders had made a previous attempt at mediation with both sides of The Gambia's political crisis in mid-December but failed to bring a result.

In Banjul, rumours swirled of imminent defections from Jammeh's government, while it was confirmed the leader who has been in power for 22 years had fired The Gambia's ambassadors to 12 different nations, apparently for disloyalty.

All the envoys had expressed their support for Barrow in late December, and asked Jammeh to step aside and respect the result of the December 1 election that delivered the opposition leader a narrow victory.

“I do not know why President Yahya Jammeh terminated their services, but I can tell you that these are the ambassadors that congratulated and endorsed President-elect Adama Barrow for his election victory,” a foreign ministry source told AFP on condition of anonymity.



Judge shortage?

Meanwhile it appeared increasingly clear there would not be the requisite number of judges on Tuesday sitting for Jammeh's Supreme Court case against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), seeking to have the election result overturned.

Nigerian and Gambian legal experts told AFP that although five Nigerian judges and one from Sierra Leone had been invited to hear the case, none had responded.

The Gambia relies on foreign nationals as judges due to a shortage of Gambians with the requisite training and experience.

Jammeh and his political party have now lodged three separate legal complaints with the Supreme Court alleging manipulation of ballot counting by the IEC and intimidation of supporters.

Gambian legal expert Aziz Bensouda said a quick resolution was unlikely and constitutionally Jammeh still had to step down by the end of his mandate.

“In the absence of a court and the pure impossibility of the parties being served in time to appear and enter a response, it seems that an adjournment of the case will be the most likely outcome,” he told AFP.

Jammeh's own lawyer Edward Gomez said he did not know how many judges would appear on the day.

“Judges have been employed for the Supreme Court, they have been appointed,” he told AFP by phone.

“Now whether they are here or they are not, I am in no position to tell you.”

Chief justice Emmanuel Fagbenle is the panel's only sitting judge, as the Supreme Court has lain dormant since May 2015.

Several judges were fired after they commuted the death sentences of former military officers to life imprisonment.



Radio shutdowns

A climate of tension and uncertainty has gripped the Gambian capital in recent days with the closure of several radio stations and arrests of those selling t-shirts sporting Barrow's face. The staff of popular private Gambian radio station Paradise FM, shut down late on Sunday by authorities, told AFP they had lodged a complaint and vowed to keep broadcasting if an explanation was not provided by the information ministry. “We told them [the ministry] that we are going to resume broadcasting if we don't hear from them,” said Ebou Jaiteh, manager of Paradise FM.



NAMPA/AFP

Similar News

 

Land invasions surge in Kenya

3 days ago - 21 July 2017 | Africa

Close by a narrow, rickety bridge in Kenya's central Laikipia highlands two herders sit on blistering hot rock next to the muddy trickle of the...

Guptagate deepens

4 days ago - 20 July 2017 | Africa

Veteran ANC leader, Reverend Frank Chikane, on Tuesday said he believed that funds laundered during the state capture project would be used to “steal the...

Lungu tells lawyers to form political party

4 days ago - 20 July 2017 | Africa

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday challenged a body representing lawyers to form a political party and face him in the political arena instead of...

Thousands learn via radio

5 days ago - 19 July 2017 | Africa

Denied an education by the Islamist insurgency of militant group Boko Haram, tens of thousands of children across the Lake Chad region are instead tuning...

Congo votes for parliament with opposition calling foul

6 days ago - 18 July 2017 | Africa

Voters went to the polls in legislative elections in the oil-rich Republic of Congo on Sunday, the first since a violence-marred presidential poll last year...

Eight dead in Senegal football stadium crush

1 week ago - 17 July 2017 | Africa

Eight people were killed during Senegal's football league cup final in Dakar on Saturday, the sports minister told AFP, as a wall collapsed onto clashing...

Grace Mugabe accident: More details emerge

1 week ago - 17 July 2017 | Africa

More details emerged yesterday of the mishap at Harare International Airport that saw First Lady Grace Mugabe sprain her ankle.The incident occurred shortly after President...

UN identifies 38 new probable mass graves in DRC

1 week ago - 14 July 2017 | Africa

Another 38 probable mass graves have been discovered in DR Congo in the country's troubled central region of Kasai, the United Nations said Wednesday.At least...

SAP suspends SA execs over 'R100m kickbacks'

1 week ago - 14 July 2017 | Africa

Software multinational firm SAP has suspended South Africa's management team after a #GuptaLeaks exposé by AmaBhungane and Scorpio revealed it allegedly paid a Gupta front...

Air Zim sacks half its workforce

1 week ago - 14 July 2017 | Africa

Air Zimbabwe has laid off 200 employees - nearly half its workforce - to try to stay in the air, Zimbabwe state media reported Wednesday,...

Latest News

Chinese firms stop work amid...

11 hours ago | Infrastructure

Two Chinese companies responsible for the bulk earthworks for the construction of the railway line between Ondangwa and Oshakati have reportedly stopped work due to...

Farmers demand Meatco board quit

11 hours ago | Agriculture

The contested Meatco board called a last-minute halt to a Friday meeting, stating that a number proposed resolutions drafted by Meatco members were illegal and...

Region grapples with violence

11 hours ago | Crime

According to Kavango West Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Mbumba gender-based violence (GBV) is the most common crime committed in the region, where about three to four...

Struggle kids snatch fire truck

11 hours ago | Crime

A fire truck was briefly hijacked near Brakwater on Friday by a group of incensed 'struggle kids' who also set a broken-down minibus on fire...

No decision on RCC yet

11 hours ago | Government

The minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste, on Friday said no decision on the future of the beleaguered Roads Construction Company (RCC) had been made....

Pretorius laid to rest

11 hours ago | People

Family members and people from all corners of Namibia paid their last respects to Willem Francois Pretorius, better known as Kosie Pretorius, during a service...

Northern fuel shortage addressed

11 hours ago | Energy

The mines and energy minister, Obeth Kandjoze, has commended Engen for the N$62 million fuel depot it has established at Ondangwa, which is expected to...

Queen praises Dr Ndume

11 hours ago | Health

The Oukwanyama Traditional Authority has presented an “award of commendation” to eye specialist Dr Helena Ndume in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the...

Hope whispers

11 hours ago | Opinion

We are a nation existing in trying times. There is no doubt that most Namibians, rich, poor, black and white are feeling the pinch of...

Load More