Monday, January 30, 2017

Africa: AU Votes As EAC-Backed Amina Eyes Top Post

By Zephania Ubwani

Kampala — African Union (AU) leaders, currently in Addis Ababa for their twice a year summit, will today vote for a new chairperson of its Commission, a position eyed by Kenyan cabinet secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ms Amina Mohamed.

With the backing of the East African Community (EAC) and shuttle diplomacy across Africa by Kenya government representatives, the 56-year-old diplomat and politician is upbeat to win the top post also contested by four other candidates, three of them from the Francophone/Spanish speaking zone.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, was forced to abandon the election campaigns now heating up in his country to travel to the Ethiopian capital on Saturday apparently to lobby for the election of his cabinet secretary.

The Kenyan leader's lobbying strategies for Ms Mohamed is likened to what Mwalimu Julius Nyerere did in 1989 when as former Tanzanian president and an influential leader in the continent led an "army' of Tanzanian official to successfully campaign for the election of Salim Ahmed Salim as the secretary general of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a position he held for 12 years.

Kenyan diplomats have been around several African capitals seeking support from the AU member countries for their candidate for the post which is crucial for the day-to-day running of body which oversees the unity and development agenda for the continent.







Africa: AU Summit - the Schedule and What to Expect in Addis Ababa



By Aggrey Mutambo

African Union members states have converged on Addis Ababa to, among others, elect the new chairperson of the AU Commission as well as eight other commissioners.

The bloc will also deliberate the re-admission of Morocco.

It quit in 1984 to protest recognition and admission of the Sahrawi Republic to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the AU predecessor.

Rabat considers Sahrawi Republic part of its territory.

Here is how the programme of the meeting looks like:


Heads of state are expected to hold a closed-door meeting from 9am (0600 GMT).

Kagame Report

After the meeting, the union will adopt a report prepared by President Paul Kagame and his team on how to reform the AU and make it a more financially independent.

Kagame report has suggested that AU members fund the organisation through a 0.2 per cent levy on imports.

Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad and Senegal say they have already set up escrow accounts to collect these money and remit it to the AU.

But the confusion is on which type of imports the levy applies.

Ideally, the Kagame report implies that goods coming into Africa from elsewhere but this could upset existing trade agreements between individual African countries and the outside world.The Kagame team was tasked to draw up proposals after it emerged the AU is reliant on donor funds.

Eighty per cent of its annual budget comes from EU, US, Turkey and China.

In fact the report points at the perennial delays or even defaulting on member fees by some poor states within the bloc.

This has made the AU largely lame-duck, unable to respond to crises around the continent in time.

Photo Session

Thereafter, the leaders will emerge for a photo session.


Eighty per cent of its annual budget comes from EU, US, Turkey and China.

In fact the report points at the perennial delays or even defaulting on member fees by some poor states within the bloc.

This has made the AU largely lame-duck, unable to respond to crises around the continent in time.

Photo Session

Thereafter, the leaders will emerge for a photo session.





Thursday, January 26, 2017

Exiled Yahya Jammeh has my forgiveness but… - Ex-political prisoner

A leading member of the then opposition coalition that defeated Yahya Jammeh as Gambian president, says he has forgiven the former president and that he will not personally pursue him.
Ousainou Darboe, leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) was only recently released from detention after Jammeh lost the December 1, 2016 elections, he was speaking to a BBC journalist currently based in The Gambia.
He however adds that he would not object to the former leader facing the International Criminal Court (ICC) if there is evidence that he committed crimes that warrants him being hurled to the Hague.
Despite pleading not guilty to charges of unlawful assembly, Darboe and 17 others were sentenced to three years in prison in July 2016 by a High Court in Banjul. They were arrested after demonstrations in April calling for political reforms and to protest against the death of an official of the UDP in custody.
The national organizing secretary of the UDP, Solo Sandeng, was arrested after the April 14 demonstration and he died while in detention. His death sparked the April 16 demonstration which resulted in more arrests including that of Darboe.
Jammeh is currently on exile in Equatorial Guinea after accepting last minute mediation efforts by Guinea and Mauritanian presidents. Regional troops had been deployed by ECOWAS ready to force Jammeh out of power if the mediation failed.
ECOWAS and other international bodies had lauded Jammeh for accepting the election results but soon after his decision to reject the results, they condemned his action and insisted on enforcing the will of the Gambian voters.
The swearing in of President Adama Barrow had to be done in the Senegalese capital of Banjul because of political uncertainty and fears of insecurity. Barrow flew out to Bamako before returning to Senegal where he stayed for about a week prior to his swearing-in. He is billed to return to Banjul this Thursday.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

ECOWAS troops secure presidential palace in The Gambia


West African troops from regional force (Economic Community of West African States) ECOWAS stood guard outside Gambia’s presidential palace on Monday in preparation for new President Adama Barrow’s return from neighbouring Senegal.

The regional military force entered the capital city of Banjul on Sunday and took control of the presidential palace, the symbolic seat of the ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year authoritarian regime.

Jammeh, who refused to accept defeat to opposition challenger Barrow in a December 1 election, left Banjul late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea as the regional force was poised to remove him.

Senegalese army officials said the force, which also includes troops from Nigeria, Ghana and Mali, met no resistance as they advanced on Sunday.

“I am also giving thanks to the Senegalese government and their people and the ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group) as well. I also pray and wish for more unity between the West African nations and the entire continent at large because these are all signs of unity. When your brother is in crisis, you intervene and give help. This is all unity,” said Banjul resident Paul Jagne.

“We can’t say that Jammeh did not work. His departure was God’s doing. God has now sent us Barrow and we are looking forward to great things for our country. All I ask for is for every Gambian to support the new president so that he can do his work well. I also ask the international community to give Barrow all the help he needs,” said another unidentified Banjul resident.

The regional military operation was first launched late on Thursday after Barrow was sworn in as president at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal, but it was halted hours later to give Jammeh one last chance to leave peacefully.

Jammeh’s departure followed two days of negotiations led by Guinea President Alpha Conde and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, prompting speculation over what, if any, terms were agreed upon to convince him to step down.





Gambia's government website 'confiscated' by proud computer hacker


As at Monday, the website had been taken over by a proud hacker who introduced himself as @ck3r_Sc00p on the website that has a picture of the new President Adama Barrow.

“Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia. site confiscated by: H@ch3r_Sc00p,” these are the inscriptions on the website with Barrow’s picture.

The hacker is unknown and no official statement has been made with regard to the situation.

Earlier in the year, the website was hacked in the heat of the country’s political impasse and after a shutdown for some days, a picture of Adama Barrow was put up introducing him as the President and announcing the inauguration.
It happened for the first time immediately after Yahya Jammeh announced on state television that he has annulled the election results calling for a rerun due to alleged voter irregularities.

The website went down and then returned with the picture of Adama Barrow as the President-elect and the phrase: “A luta continua, a vitória é certa”, which is Portuguese for “The fight goes on, the victory is certain.”

The government website used to have news and information about former President Yahya Jammeh, his wife, government functionaries and general country information.

Key government websites in Africa have faced hacks especially during political standoffs and other heightened situations.

Ghana’s electoral commission website was hacked for some four hours in December last year during the country’s election process.

South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF had their websites pulled down in June last year by a group identified as Anonymous Africa.






Monday, January 23, 2017

Gambians celebrate as West African troops enter capital after Jammeh flees

By Tim Cocks and Diadie Ba
BANJUL/DAKAR (Reuters) - Gambians celebrated in the streets on Sunday after a West African regional military force entered the capital city of Banjul and took control of the presidential palace, the symbolic seat of ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh's 22-year authoritarian regime.
Jammeh, who refused to accept defeat to opposition challenger Adama Barrow in a December election, flew out of Banjul late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea as the regional force was poised to remove him.
Hundreds of Banjul residents assembled outside State House as darkness fell after soldiers, who deployed on Sunday to secure the country, moved in to secure the compound.
Cheering and singing, some revellers sought to capture the moment for posterity, posing for photos with the Senegalese troops.
"We are free," said food seller Isatou Toure, 35. "Everyone is so happy that man is gone. We are happy to see (the soldiers). They protected us from Jammeh."
Senegalese army officials said the force, which also includes troops from Nigeria, Ghana and Mali, met no resistance as they advanced on Sunday.
But even amid the celebrations, troubling details of Jammeh's departure began to emerge.
Speaking to radio station RFM in Senegal, where he is waiting to return to Gambia, Barrow said that, upon initial inspection, it appeared Jammeh had looted state resources.
"According to information we received, there is no money in the coffers," he said. "It's what we have been told, but the day we actually take office, we will clarify all of it."
In a news conference later in the day, Barrow advisor Mai Ahmad Fatty said 500 million dalasis ($11.45 million) had been withdrawn by Jammeh in the past two weeks.
The regional military operation was first launched late on Thursday after Barrow was sworn in as president at Gambia's embassy in neighbouring Senegal, but it was halted hours later to give Jammeh one last chance to leave peacefully.
His departure followed two days of negotiations led by Guinea President Alpha Conde and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, prompting speculation over what, if any, terms were agreed upon to convince him to step down.
"He wanted to stay in Gambia," Barrow said. "We said we couldn't guarantee his security and said that he should leave."
Barrow denied that Jammeh had been offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for leaving the country.
Earlier in the day, the African Union and United Nations published a document on behalf of these two organisations and regional bloc ECOWAS. 
In it, they pledged, among other things, to protect Jammeh's rights "as a citizen, a party leader and a former Head of State," to prevent the seizure of property belonging to him and his allies, and to ensure he can eventually return to Gambia.
Barrow said the document had not been signed and did not constitute a binding agreement. He also said he planned to return to Gambia soon but did not say when.
Jammeh's loss in the Dec. 1 poll and his initial acceptance of the result were celebrated across the tiny nation by Gambians grown weary of his increasingly authoritarian rule. He reversed his position a week later.
In a video clip posted on social media that a United Nations official confirmed was filmed shortly before his departure from Gambia, Jammeh thanked Conde, seen standing beside him, as a "true friend."
"Allah has decided that this is the end my time," he said. "When you are inflicted by something that you are not happy with, don't move away from Allah, but thank Allah because he is testing you."
Rights groups accuse Jammeh of jailing, torturing and killing his political opponents while acquiring a vast fortune, including luxury cars and an estate in the United States, as most of his people remained impoverished.
Thousands of Gambians sought asylum abroad over the years. An additional 45,000 people fled to Senegal amid growing fears of unrest in the wake of last month's election, according to the United Nations.
Hundreds of Gambians carrying sacks, suitcases and cooking pots began returning by ferry from Senegal's Casamance region on Sunday.
Hawa Jagne, 22, a cloth trader, hugged her sister Fama as she stepped off the boat.  
"I'm so relieved to see her," Jagne said. "Everyone is free. You can do whatever you want, because this is a democratic country. You can express yourself. No one can kill you."
($1 = 43.6600 Gambian dalasis)
(Additional reporting by Emma Farge in Dakar; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Keith Weir, Jane Merriman and Lisa Von Ahn)


Friday, January 20, 2017

West African military force enters Gambia to install new president

By Tim Cocks and Emma Farge

BANJUL/DAKAR (Reuters) - West African nations launched a military operation in Gambia on Thursday, Senegal's army said, aiming to install its new President Adama Barrow and remove longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh, who refuses to step down despite an election loss.

Barrow took the oath of office on Thursday at Gambia's embassy in Senegal, calling for international support from West Africa's ECOWAS bloc, the African Union and the United Nations.

The intervention, led by a Senegalese general and dubbed Operation Restore Democracy, involves "significant" land, air and sea resources, according to a Senegalese army statement.

"This action aims to re-establish constitutional legality in Gambia and allow the new elected president to take office," it said, adding that the operation was being carried out under an ECOWAS mandate.

A local Senegalese government official saw a military convoy including tanks in Diouloulou, near Senegal's border with Gambia on Thursday morning. And soon after Barrow's swearing in, Senegal's army spokesman told Reuters its forces crossed into its much smaller neighbour.

Nigeria, which pre-positioned war planes and helicopters in Dakar, is also part of the operation, but it was not immediately clear if it too had crossed the border.

Ghana has also pledged troops.

"This is a day no Gambian will ever forget," Barrow said after taking the oath, which was administered by the president of Gambia's bar association. "Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world."

"I hereby make an explicit appeal to ECOWAS, the (African Union) and the UN... to support the government and people of the Gambia in enforcing their will, restoring their sovereignty and constitutional legitimacy," he said.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday backed ECOWAS's efforts to ensure Barrow assumes power, and the United States said it supported Senegal's intervention.

ECOWAS has been attempting to persuade Jammeh to quit for weeks, and has failed to do so, despite his increasing political isolation and last ditch efforts to reason with him overnight.

Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup and whose mandate ended overnight, initially conceded defeat to Barrow following a Dec. 1 election before back-tracking, saying the vote was flawed.


Hundreds of Gambians celebrated in the streets, cautiously at first, and then gradually in larger numbers as they realised the security forces looking on were not going to open fire.

Cars whizzed up and down the highway lined with iron-roofed shops in the pro-Barrow Serrekunda district of Banjul, with horns honking and people hanging out of the windows.

"The dictator is out," shouted pharmacist Lamine Jao, 30, as others cheered and whistled in agreement. "It's just a question of time. We'll soon flush him out. Believe me," he said.

During the brief inauguration speech, Barrow asserted his new role as commander and chief of Gambia's armed services, ordering soldiers to stay calm and remain in their barracks. Those who did not would be considered rebels, he said.

ECOWAS and the African Union have said they will recognise Barrow from Thursday and nations including the United Kingdom and France were quick to congratulate Barrow.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement pledged "his full support for his (Barrow's) determination, and ECOWAS's historic decision, with the unanimous backing of the Security Council, to restore the rule of law in The Gambia so as to honour and respect the will of the Gambian people."

Barrow gave the oath in a tiny room in Gambia's embassy in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, and many of those present broke into the Gambian national anthem once he had completed it.

Outside the building on a residential street amid a heavy security presence, dozens of Gambians listened to the ceremony through loudspeakers.

"It's very sad to be swearing in a president in someone else's country," said Fatou Silla, 33, a businesswoman who fled Gambia with her son a week ago.

Fearing unrest, thousands of Gambians have fled, the United Nations estimates.

A senior aide to Barrow said that arrangements would be made for him to return to Gambia though it was unclear when or how.

At a bar in the Gambian capital Banjul's popular Senegambia strip, people crowded around a television to watch the swearing in and cheered and danced when it was over.  

"We have been suffering for 22 years and now things will be different," said a cashier who only gave her name as Fama.

As tour companies moved out hundreds of European tourists, shops, market stalls and banks in Banjul remained closed. Police circulated in trucks and soldiers manned checkpoints.

It was unclear what Jammeh's next move would be.

He faces almost total diplomatic isolation and a government riddled by defections. In the biggest loss yet, Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy, who has held the role since 1997, quit on Wednesday, a government source and a family member told Reuters.

Gambia's long, sandy beaches have made it a prime destination for tourists but Jammeh, who once vowed to rule for "a billion years", has also earned a reputation for rights abuses and stifling dissent.

He has ignored pressure to step aside and offers of exile.

(Additional reporting by Nellie Peyton and Diadie Ba in Dakar, Felix Onuah in Abuja, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Joe Bavier and David Lewis; Editing by John Stonestreet and Dominic Evans)






Gambia's Jammeh offered last chance for peaceful exit before troops advance

By Tim Cocks

BANJUL (Reuters) - West African leaders were due in Banjul on Friday morning to offer Gambia's veteran leader Yahya Jammeh a last chance to step down peacefully before regional forces, which have already entered the country, oust him.

Troops from regional bloc ECOWAS, spearheaded by Senegal and Nigeria, crossed into Gambia on Thursday at the request of newly elected President Adama Barrow, who had to be sworn in at Gambia's embassy in Dakar as Jammeh clings to office.

The West African armies have given Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, until midday on Friday to quit before they continue their advance across the tiny slither of a country to the capital, Banjul.

The city was quiet overnight after hundreds of Gambians celebrated Barrow's swearing in and the subsequent ECOWAS advance into their country - a popular destination for European tourists that Jammeh has ruled with an iron fist.

Gambia's only land border is with Senegal and the regional coalition, which ECOWAS says involves 7,000 troops, has entered from the southeast, southwest and north.

Marcel de Souza, head of the ECOWAS commission, said Guinea's President Alpha Conde would travel to Banjul with the leaders of Mauritania and Liberia to try to convince Jammeh to travel to Guinea before choosing a country of exile.

"It's out of the question that he stays in place," de Souza said.

Jammeh initially conceded to Barrow after a December election before he reversed his decision, saying the vote was flawed and he would remain in power until a new election could be held.

Barrow has been recognised as Gambia's new president by world powers and Jammeh is increasingly isolated at home as ministers abandoned his camp.

On Thursday night, army chief General Ousman Badjie, who had publicly stood by Jammeh, was seen smiling on the streets, wading through a mass of jubilant Banjul residents shouting and dancing.

Barrow asked for foreign help to assume office immediately after he was sworn in on Thursday, a plan that was backed by the U.N. Security Council in New York.

(Additional reporting by Emma Farge and Diadie Ba in Dakar; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Richard Lough)








Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gambia crisis: UK issues travel alert, 1000s of tourists to be evacuated

The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a travel advice ‘‘against all but essential travel to the Gambia due to ongoing political uncertainty and potential military intervention.’‘

A statement from the FCO read in part, ‘‘If you’re currently in The Gambia you should leave by commercial means if you have no essential need to remain. The potential for military intervention and civil disturbance is high and could result in Banjul International Airport being closed at short notice.

‘‘You should follow events closely, take extra care, keep in regular contact with your tour operator and airline and continue to monitor travel advice and social media updates in case tensions rise as the current political deadlock continues,’‘ they advised.

The potential for military intervention and civil disturbance is high and could result in Banjul International Airport being closed at short notice.

Meanwhile, a UK holiday company, Thomas Cook has stated that it will send additional flight to the Gambian capital to bring back about 1,000 holidaymakers who are in the tiny West African nation which is known to be a tourist destination due to its beaches.

Thomas Cook said a flight will be sent to bring back some 985 package trip customers. Further four flights will be sent to help evacuate some 2,500 “flight-only” customers.

The outgoing president, Yahya Jammeh on Tuesday declared a 3 month state of emergency with barely 24 hours to the end of his mandate. Jammeh lost the last presidential polls run on December 1, 2016 but has refused to stand down citing irregularities in the results.

He had earlier tried to stop the swearing-in ceremony of the opposition coalition candidate, Adama Barrow, who was declared winner of the polls. The court refused to sit on the case due to the lack of judges. An earlier poll petition case filed by his party was also not heard for the same reason.

Barrow, who enjoys international support and recognition is currently in Senegal and was expected to fly in on Thursday January 19 to be sworn in. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after failing to talk Jammeh out has hinted that they could apply military intervention to enforce the will of the Gambian people as expressed in the last elections.







Gambia: West African force ready to deal with Jammeh after January 19

A Nigerian military source has disclosed that a joint West African force will intervene in the Gambia if President Jammeh refuses to peacefully handover power at the end of his tenure.

The force is believed to be led by Nigeria. Senegal has also been a strong candidate to participate in such a force given that they are the Gambia’s only neighbours by land.

“A decision has been taken that he will not remain president of Gambia at the expiration of his tenure,” the source is quoted by Reuters news agency to have said.

Jammeh’s term ends on January 19 on the same day winner of the December 1 polls, Adama Barrow is expected to be sworn-in. Barrow enjoys the support of the regional political bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is currently in Senegal.

He is expected to be flown in accompanied by ECOWAS leaders to be sworn in on Thursday.

ECOWAS appointed Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and ex Ghana president John Mahama as mediators in the political impasse. But the mediation effort failed due to Jammeh’s hard stance during negotiations.

Jammeh has in a past broadcast slammed ECOWAS for declaring war on a member state – contrary to its charter. He said at the time that he was ready for the war and to defend the Gambian constitution.

The Army Chief also declared that they were behind Jammeh in an address released early this year. Meanwhile defections continue to hit Jammeh’s government as ambassadors and ministers quit and flee the tiny West African country.

Jammeh accepted conceded defeat in the polls but reversed his decision citing electoral irregularity. Two cases his party filed in court to annul the poll results and to halt Thursday’s inauguration of Barrow; were unsuccessful.

The Chief Justice, Nigerian Emmanuel Fagbenle, ruled that there were no judges to sit on the cases. Gambia usually uses the services of judges from fellow West African countries in its superior court.







Political crisis in Gambia triggers exodus

Thousands of people are leaving Gambia fearing an outbreak of violence as President Yahya Jammeh continues to refuse to step down despite losing an election in December.

Hundreds have already fled to neighbouring Senegal where president-elect Adama Barrow has been told to stay for his own safety.

On Tuesday (January 17) President Jammeh declared a state of emergency. Although he initially accepted the election result he’s now claiming it was rigged and mounting a legal challenge.

Since the election Jammeh has become increasingly isolated at home and abroad, and West African leaders have threatened to intervene militarily if he doesn’t stand down.

The inauguration of Adama Barrow is scheduled for Thursday but there have been few signs of preparation.
His aides say he’s not intimidated by the state of emergency and that he will return for his swearing-in.


Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994 as only the second president since Gambia’s independence in 1965 and his government gained a reputation for torturing and killing perceived opponents, rights groups say. In 2015, he declared that the country was an Islamic Republic.

In the December polls,Adama Barrow won 43.3% of the vote compared with Yahya Jammeh’s 39.6%. A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, got 17.1%.

Gambia, one of the smallest countries in Africa, relies on tourism and one main crop, peanuts, to fuel its economy.

Travel warning

Hundreds of British tourists are to be flown back from Gambia by Thomas Cook after Britain’s Foreign Office warned “the potential for military intervention and civil disturbance is high” in the west African nation.

The travel company said it would fly out a special assistance team to help UK holidaymakers leave the country and would operate additional flights from the capital Banjul.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has urged Britons to avoid all but essential travel to the country.








Friday, January 6, 2017

Jammeh sacks Gambia;s ambassador to Senegal

Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, has recalled his ambassador to neighbouring Dakar, the Jeune Afrique news portal reports.

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The note terminating his appointment as diplomat was sent on 27 December last year and he should by now have handed over to the embassy’s general secretary.

Momodou Pa Njie becomes the second Gambian ambassador recalled from service for impressing on Jammeh to accept his loss in the December 1 presidential elections. On 19 December 2016, Jammeh recalled the ambassador to the United States for the same reason.

Njie was among some 11 ambassadors who issued a joint statement calling for President Jammeh to respect the outcome of the December 1 presidential polls and to duly handover power peacefully to Adama Barrow, the president-elect.

Among them were the ambassadors to Beijing, Ankara, London, New York and Moscow. The remaining were ambassadors to Madrid, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Bissau, Havana and Brussels.

‘‘In conclusion Your Excellency, we once again implore you to consider our plea which is aimed at achieving the greater good for our beloved country, the Gambia’ ‘the ambassadors said in the letter to Jammeh.

Jammeh annulled the election results after conceding defeat earlier. He cited irregularities unknown to his team at the time of the concession. He has rubbished a regional mediation effort by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) describing it as ‘biased.’

The army has pledged support to him and the Supreme Court is due to hear an election petition filed by Jammeh’s party. The Head of the last elections has fled to Senegal following death threats on his life. ECOWAS has hinted that it could send troops if need be, a position Jammeh has described as a declaration of war – which he says he is ready for.



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gambia electoral commissioner flees country

Gambia’s electoral commissioner, Alieu Momarr Njai who would have played a vital role in the country’s smooth transition of power has fled the country as mediation talks to get Yahya Jammeh to step down is underway.



Gambia: Jammeh has our 'unflinching loyalty and support' – Army chief

Gambia’s Chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Ousman Badgie, says President Yahya Jammeh has the ‘unflinching loyalty and support’ of the army.

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‘‘May I please seize this opportunity to also renew to Your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of The Gambia Armed Forces to Your Excellency, the Government and People of The Gambia,’‘ Badgie’s New Year congratulatory message published in the pro-government Daily Observer read.

‘‘Please permit me to commend you for your demonstrated personal commitment to The Gambia Armed Forces which is guided by your vision of making The Gambia Armed Forces not only as one of the most developed armies but that which is second to none in the world,’‘ he added.

This is the latest twist to the political crisis that has arisen from the December 1 polls which Jammeh lost, conceded defeat before backtracking from his earlier position.

There were reports on Wednesday of arrests of opposition activists in the country days to the opening of an election petition case filed by Jammeh’s party. Three radio networks have also been shut down.

An Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation was meeting with Jammeh and Barrow in Banjul in a bid to steer the tiny West African country from a crisis. Jammeh has however rejected the ECOWAS mediation describing it as one dimensional and biased.