They are also expected to ensure a peaceful handover of power on Jan. 19. President Muhammadu Buhari and some ECOWAS leaders had visited Banjul, the Capital of The Gambia, to meet with President Yahya Jammeh, who lost the country’s presidential election held on Dec. 1, 2016.
Buhari and ECOWAS leaders, who met with Jammeh, The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow and other stakeholders, insisted on the sanctity of the electoral process, and respect for the wishes of the people. Jammeh had conceded defeat in the election, after a 22-year rule, but recanted a week later, asking for fresh polls to be conducted by a “god-fearing and independent electoral commission.’’
Jammeh, who initially closed down the country’s electoral commission, has directed its reopening as he appointed new foreign Supreme Court judges likely to preside over his appeal against the presidential election result.
The supreme court will be hearing on Jan. 10 of Jammeh’s challenge to the result that elected his rival Adama Barrow.
One of the outcomes of the just-concluded ECOWAS Summit held on Dec. 17 in Abuja was the decision to designate Buhari as the Mediator for The Gambia with Mr John Mahama, the outgone President of Ghana, as Co-Mediator.
The summit also gave the terms of reference to include ensuring the safety of the President-elect, Adama Barrow, the political leaders and the entire population. Others are: “Upholding the result of the Presidential election held on Dec. 1, 2016 and ensuring that the President-elect is sworn into office on Jan. 19, 2017, in conformity with the constitution of the country.’’