YAHYA JAMMEH MUST RESPECT THE PEOPLE’S WILL

The Gambia, one of the smallest countries in West Africa, has been plunged into a political quagmire by the refusal of the current President, Yahya Jammeh, to hand over power to an elected candidate of the opposition in that country.
Few weeks back, President Jammeh had surprised even his worst critics by declaring that he would accept the result of the election and conceded defeat to the elected candidate, Adama Barrow.
But in a shocking u-turn few days after conceding, Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia for 22 years, rejected the same results he had earlier accepted, citing “serious and unacceptable abnormalities” in the electoral process.
Many round the world were confounded but not surprised at the rejection of the polls by Mr. Yahya Jammeh.
We are equally shocked that Yahya Jammeh had taken such a stand after conceding defeat in an election that many described as free and fair.
The condemnation has sparked a flurry of demands by world leaders and organisations on the leader who has been accused of human right violations in his country.
Our concern is his decision not to accept the results, and calling for a re-run is undemocratic and a blot on the democratic movement in West Africa.
The West Africa sub-region has seen member countries hold elections and the political baton changing hands in the most orderly and peaceful manner.
Nigeria, the biggest country in West Africa recently held on election and power was handed over to and elected opposition candidate in a manner hailed around the world.
Ghana has just finished an acrimonious and ugly campaign and election.
The result went in favour of the opposition just like in The Gambia, and the President who lost the election, has gracefully accepted the results, congratulated his opponent and preparations are underway to handover on January 7, 2017.
It is, therefore, shocking that Yahya Jammeh has not taken any cue from what has happened in many sister countries in West Africa and continues to drag the democratic credentials of West African countries into the mud.
West African leaders are currently in his country to persuade him to respect the will of the country.
Whatever solution that they arrive at, President Yahya Jammeh should do the honourable thing and step down.
He must be made to know that he cannot subvert the will of the people, and that the international community would no longer support him in his quest to cling onto power.
Time is out, and The Gambian President must bow out with or without international pressure.

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