The ferocious Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh has dared ECOWAS for declaring war against him for his refusal to step down when his mandate expires this month.
Despite losing to Adama Barrow in December 1, 2016, Jammeh accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refuses to step down. He vowed to defend Gambia against any external aggression in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.
Jammeh initially conceded defeat before changing his mind after citing irregularities in the election processes. This raised concern he might be forced out of power by the ECOWAS if he refused to step down after his term runs out on January 19.
Marcel de Souza, president for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), hinted last week that the body had put standby forces on alert. Jammeh appeared saddened by “resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to carry out the results of Dec 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible”.
In his speech, he reiterated the poll did not go in his favour. “It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution”
“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression.
“My government will never opt for such confrontation but defending our sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians,” he said.
Jammeh’s initial acceptance of defeat after 22 years in power brought a big sigh of relief before a dramatic turn around which dashed the hope of many Africans.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria stepped in as ECOWAS mediator to offer Jammeh an honourable exit, but Jammeh said the bloc could no longer fulfil that role.
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