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		What hinders the smooth transfer of power in Africa?
		
What hinders the smooth transfer of power in Africa?
What hinders the smooth transfer of power in Africa?
Sun, 22 Jan 2017 21:43:15 +0000
What hinders the smooth transfer of power in Africa?
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After 22 years in power, Yahya Jammeh has left Gambia. The former president flew into exile heading for Equatorial Guinea. He’d refused to step down for weeks after losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow last month. The standoff caused neighbouring countries in West Africa to send in troops, threatening to remove Jammeh from office […]

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The former president of Gambia Yahya Jammeh has flown into exile to avoid a military confrontation.

After 22 years in power, Yahya Jammeh has left Gambia.

The former president flew into exile heading for Equatorial Guinea.

He’d refused to step down for weeks after losing the presidential election to Adama Barrow last month.

The standoff caused neighbouring countries in West Africa to send in troops, threatening to remove Jammeh from office by force if he didn’t budge.

Jammeh’s departure is a new era for Africa’s smallest country.

Several African leaders over the years have attempted to remain in power beyond their mandate.

Some succeeded. Other power struggles led to mass killings

Inside Story discusses the hurdles facing a peaceful democratic transition in the African continent.

Presenter: Hazem Sika

Guests:

Gilles Yabi: Former Project Director for International Crisis Group in Senegal

Joseph Ochieno: West Africa Political Specialist

Marie-Roger Biloa: Editor, Africa International

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/what-hinders-the-smooth-transfer-of-power-in-africa/feed/ 0 Gambia: A lesson for African dictators
Gambia: A lesson for African dictators
Gambia: A lesson for African dictators
Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:24:42 +0000
Gambia: A lesson for African dictators
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Soon after the peaceful transition of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump in the US, Gambia’s crisis was also resolved without a single gunshot. The embattled President Yahya Jammeh appeared on national TV announcing his decision “to relinquish the mantle of leadership”. Jammeh’s decision to step down was not only important to his own […]

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What Gambia can teach other countries about the peaceful transfer of power.

Soon after the peaceful transition of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump in the US, Gambia’s crisis was also resolved without a single gunshot. The embattled President Yahya Jammeh appeared on national TV announcing his decision “to relinquish the mantle of leadership”.

Jammeh’s decision to step down was not only important to his own people, as he effectively decided not to push the country into bloodshed to retain power, but it also set an important precedent in Africa for a peaceful transition of power after a decades-long dictatorship.

The descent into a preventable crisis

The political turmoil in Gambia, was the result of what I call “the curse of an authoritarian electoral defeat”. It is a curse that plagues any country with long authoritarian rule where questions about the fate of the outgoing leader during and after the handover of power and about the transition from authoritarian to democratic politics remain unresolved.

 

Jammeh took power in Gambia in 1994 through a military coup and stayed in power for 22 years, getting regularly re-elected in, what were perceived as, unfair elections. On December 1, 2016 Jammeh’s opponent, Adama Barrow, won the elections with a four percent lead, a defeat that the incumbent initially accepted.

The crisis started when, on December 9, Jammeh rescinded his earlier concession of defeat. Although Jammeh claimed that there were electoral irregularities, what really pushed him to change his mind was his fear of political reprisals against him by the opposition. 

Instead of seizing Jammeh’s concession of defeat as an opportunity to negotiate an exit strategy ensuring peaceful transfer of power, politics of vengeance, not uncommon in transitions from authoritarian rule, started to creep into the political discourse. Members of the opposition started talking about annulling Gambia’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, refusing immunity to Jammeh, having him prosecuted, and seizing his assets.

Jammeh was cornered and went on the offensive, declaring a state of emergency and pressing the parliament to extend his rule by three months.

Diplomatic efforts

Central to the success of diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis was regional leadership. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took the lead both in setting the agenda and launching the diplomatic process which involved five rounds of presidential missions to Banjul mobilising a total number of six African presidents, including Nobel Peace Prize laurate, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia.

Unlike in other African transfer of power crises, where power sharing was the focus of negotiations, ECOWAS decided not to compromise and pushed for enforcing the outcome of the December 1 elections.

Its diplomatic efforts also received firm support from international actors such as the African Union, which warned Jammeh of “serious consequences“, the United Nations, and the European Union.

An important factor in the successful resolution of the crisis was that ECOWAS did not limit its actions only to diplomacy, but also backed its efforts with a credible threat of military action. Apart from its 17 December summit decision to “undertake all necessary action” – a euphemism for use of force – ECOWAS member states mobilised their troops and prepared to enter Gambia’s territory upon the expiry of the 19 January deadline they set for Jammeh to leave power.

The crumbling of Jammeh’s regime from inside was major internal catalyst for the swift and peaceful end of the stalemate. The string of cabinet resignations followed by the departure of long-time vice president, Isatou Njie-Saidy, forced Jammeh to dissolve his cabinet entirely. Even Jammeh’s military chief who stood by him throughout the crisis eventually announced that he had no plan to fight the ECOWAS troops marching into the Gambia. 

Trying to avoid bloodshed, ECOWAS decided not to follow up on its initial threat of ensuring the inauguration of Mr Barrow in Banjul and instead opted for an extraordinary decision to swear Gambia’s new president in the Gambian embassy in Senegal’s capital, Dakar on January 19 .

This act sealed Jammeh’s political defeat, paving the way for the AU and others to withdraw their recognition of Jammeh and welcome Mr Barrow as the legitimate president of Gambia.  

A lesson for other African dictators

What ultimately guaranteed the peaceful end of the crisis was the eventual successful negotiation of the terms for Jammeh’s exit. In exchange for peaceful transfer of power to the new president, he received guarantees of a secure retirement with full benefits of a citizen, a party leader and a former head of state.

In this way, Gambia set an important precedent for other authoritarian rulers, who continue to be in power long after losing popular support due to their uncertain future. Gambia’s experience shows that they can get a dignified exit, if they allow free and fair election.

In so doing, not only would they spare their countries the agonies of a violent transition, but also avoid the fate of Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is on trial at the ICC after he was forced out of power by a French military intervention in 2011.

The clear lesson for opposition parties and the citizenry in countries with authoritarian leaders is that not only should they forge unity during elections, but also prepare to work with regional and international bodies for a negotiated exit guaranteeing peaceful transfer of power.

As Barrow’s plan to convene a truth and reconciliation commission for dealing with past abuses shows, Jammeh’s exit does not completely preclude the pursuit of measures of accountability as part of an inclusive transitional process.

Solomon Ayele Dersso is a senior legal scholar and an analyst on Africa and African Union affairs. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.  

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/gambia-a-lesson-for-african-dictators/feed/ 0 Gambia crisis ends as Jammeh leaves for exile
Gambia crisis ends as Jammeh leaves for exile
Gambia crisis ends as Jammeh leaves for exile
Sat, 21 Jan 2017 21:49:01 +0000
Gambia crisis ends as Jammeh leaves for exile
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Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh flew out of the capital Banjul on Saturday and into exile after stepping down from power following a weeks-long standoff with President Adama Barrow, who won the country’s elections in early December.  Jammeh took off in an unmarked plane heading for an unspecified destination, seen off by a delegation of dignitaries and soldiers. […]

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Leader of 22 years, who for weeks refused to cede power, flies out of the capital Banjul and into exile.

Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh flew out of the capital Banjul on Saturday and into exile after stepping down from power following a weeks-long standoff with President Adama Barrow, who won the country’s elections in early December. 

Jammeh took off in an unmarked plane heading for an unspecified destination, seen off by a delegation of dignitaries and soldiers.

Jammeh had arrived at the airport in the capital Banjul on Saturday in the company of mediator Alpha Conde.

Jammeh, who took power in 1994 and stepped down overnight in the face of growing pressure from West African armies.

Prior to the prospect of an invasion, Jammeh refused to recognise he lost an election to Barrow on December 1. 

At least 46,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal since the start of the crisis fearing unrest, the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said, citing Senegalese government figures.

The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, pledged to remove Jammeh by force if he did not step down. The group assembled a multinational military force including tanks that rolled into Gambia on Thursday.

The force moved in after Barrow’s inauguration and a unanimous vote by the UN Security Council supporting the regional efforts.

‘Truth and reconciliation commission’

Speaking to the Associated Press on Saturday, Barrow urged caution after an online petition called for Jammeh to be arrested, and not be granted asylum.

The new president said he favours launching a “truth and reconciliation commission” to investigate possible crimes by Jammeh. 

READ MORE: Adama Barrow pledges truth commission over Yahya Jammeh

Barrow has been in Senegal for his safety during a political standoff that came to the brink of a regional military intervention.

Under heavy security, Barrow took the presidential oath of office Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Dakar, with the backing of the international community.

Jammeh announced his intention to leave the country on Friday. “I have decided in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” Jammeh said.

Human rights activists demanded that Jammeh be held accountable for alleged abuses, including torture and detention of opponents.

It was those concerns about prosecution that led Jammeh to challenge the election results.

Barrow said he will return to his homeland after the outgoing president leaves and once a security sweep has been completed.

“It is not yet confirmed information, but reliable sources say he’ll be leaving today,” Barrow told AP.

“We believe he’ll go to Guinea, but we are yet to confirm 100 percent, but that’s what we believe.” 

The post Gambia crisis ends as Jammeh leaves for exile appeared first on African Media Agency.

]]> http://amediaagency.com/gambia-crisis-ends-as-jammeh-leaves-for-exile/feed/ 0 Adama Barrow pledges truth commission over Yahya Jammeh
Adama Barrow pledges truth commission over Yahya Jammeh
Adama Barrow pledges truth commission over Yahya Jammeh
Sat, 21 Jan 2017 19:07:52 +0000
Adama Barrow pledges truth commission over Yahya Jammeh
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Gambia’s incoming president said he favours launching a “truth and reconciliation commission” to investigate possible crimes committed by the outgoing leader of 22 years. Speaking to the Associated Press on Saturday, Adama Barrow urged caution after an online petition called for Yahya Jammeh to be arrested, and not be granted asylum. “We aren’t talking about […]

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Adama Barrow says he wants to 'get the facts together' regarding possible crimes of outgoing president Yahya Jammeh.

Gambia’s incoming president said he favours launching a “truth and reconciliation commission” to investigate possible crimes committed by the outgoing leader of 22 years.

Speaking to the Associated Press on Saturday, Adama Barrow urged caution after an online petition called for Yahya Jammeh to be arrested, and not be granted asylum.

“We aren’t talking about prosecution here, we are talking about getting a truth and reconciliation commission,” Barrow told the AP.  “Before you can act, you have to get the truth, to get the facts together.”

Jammeh, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, has been holed up this week in his official residence in Banjul, increasingly isolated as he was abandoned by his security forces and several cabinet members.

Since losing the election to Barrow in January, Jammeh had for weeks refused to hand over power.

Barrow has been in Senegal for his safety during a political standoff that came to the brink of a regional military intervention.

Under heavy security, Barrow took the presidential oath of office Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Dakar, with the backing of the international community.

Jammeh finally prepared to leave the country after declaring on Friday he would do so.

“I have decided in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” Jammeh said.

Human rights activists demanded that Jammeh be held accountable for alleged abuses, including torture and detention of opponents.

It was those concerns about prosecution that led Jammeh to challenge the December election results.

Humanitarian crisis

At least 46,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal since the start of the crisis fearing unrest, the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said, citing Senegalese government figures.

The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, pledged to remove Jammeh by force if he did not step down. The group assembled a multinational military force including tanks that rolled into Gambia on Thursday.

The force moved in after Barrow’s inauguration and a unanimous vote by the UN Security Council supporting the regional efforts.

Barrow said he will return to his homeland after the outgoing president leaves.

Writing on Twitter on Saturday from Senegal, Barrow said: “As Yahya Jammeh officially stepped down from office – I will be returning to my homeland, the Republic of The Gambia. #NewGambia.”

Jammeh is expected to leave soon for Guinea, reports said.

Barrow said he will enter Gambia once a security sweep has been completed.

“It is not yet confirmed information, but reliable sources say he’ll be leaving today,” Barrow told AP. “We believe he’ll go to Guinea, but we are yet to confirm 100 percent, but that’s what we believe.”

Guinea prepares

In the Guinean capital, Conakry, the security minister was at the airport with jeeps full of well-armed military personnel, witnesses said.

However, a special plane also landed from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, with only a crew and no passengers, suggesting that could be Jammeh’s final destination. Equatorial Guinea, unlike Guinea, is not a state party to the International Criminal Court.

The new Gambian president said he had not yet been given the communique that should spell out the terms of Jammeh’s departure.

“What is fundamental here is he will live in a foreign country as of now,” he said.

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/adama-barrow-pledges-truth-commission-over-yahya-jammeh/feed/ 0 Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'agrees to step down'
Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'agrees to step down'
Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'agrees to step down'
Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:31:01 +0000
Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'agrees to step down'
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Gambia’s new president has said that Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years and refused for weeks to step down after losing the recent election, has finally “agreed to leave”. Writing on Twitter on Friday, Adama Barrow said Jammeh would also leave the country. “I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh […]

The post Gambia's Yahya Jammeh 'agrees to step down' appeared first on African Media Agency.

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Incoming President Adama Barrow says leader of 22 years has finally agreed to cede power and will leave the country.

Gambia’s new president has said that Yahya Jammeh, who ruled the country for 22 years and refused for weeks to step down after losing the recent election, has finally “agreed to leave”.

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Adama Barrow said Jammeh would also leave the country.

“I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia,” he tweeted.

Barrow was sworn in at Gambia’s embassy in Dakar in neighbouring Senegal on Thursday.

Red carpets were reportedly laid out at the airport in Gambia’s capital in what appeared to be preparations for a speech by Jammeh and a departure.

Also on Friday, Gambia’s chief of defence forces Ousmane Badjie pledged his allegiance to the country’s new president, a major shift as mediation continued to persuade Jammeh to cede power.

Jammeh had rejected Barrow’s December 1 election win, despite significant pressure from regional powers and the UN, sparking a major crisis.

READ MORE: Is Gambia on a path to turmoil?

At least 46,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal since the start of the crisis fearing unrest, the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said, citing Senegalese government figures.

Celebrations erupted in Banjul, meanwhile, where tensions have run high especially since the declaration of a state of emergency by Jammeh made on Tuesday.

Barrow, a real estate agent turned politician, had flown into Senegal on January 15 to seek shelter after weeks of rising tension over Jammeh’s stance.

West African troops had entered the country to bolster new President Barrow, but military operations were suspended in favour of a final diplomatic push to convince Jammeh to exit peacefully.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Barrow said that he hoped the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could find him a safe haven.

Jammeh started negotiations with ECOWAS on Thursday. He demanded an amnesty for any crimes that he may have committed during his 22 years in power and that he be permitted to stay in Gambia, at his home village of Kanilai.

Those demands were not acceptable, said Marcel Alain de Souza, head of ECOWAS.

Jammeh’s continued presence in Gambia would “create disturbances to public order and terrorist movements” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar, said: “A stable Gambia, Barrow told me, has to be without Jammeh in the picture. That’s why this news is quite significant for all those that have left the country – 46,000 since January 1 …  They hope he leaves so they can come back.”

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/gambias-yahya-jammeh-agrees-to-step-down/feed/ 0 Guterres: Thousands of child soldiers fight in Somalia
Guterres: Thousands of child soldiers fight in Somalia
Guterres: Thousands of child soldiers fight in Somalia
Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:23:43 +0000
Guterres: Thousands of child soldiers fight in Somalia
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed alarm at reports that children may constitute a large part of the force recruited and used by the armed al-Shabab group in Somalia. In a report to the Security Council circulated this week, the UN chief said al-Shabab used children in combat, with nine-year-olds reportedly taught to use weapons and sent to […]

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UN's Antonio Guterres concerned over new report saying nearly 6,200 children were recruited over a six year period.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed alarm at reports that children may constitute a large part of the force recruited and used by the armed al-Shabab group in Somalia.

In a report to the Security Council circulated this week, the UN chief said al-Shabab used children in combat, with nine-year-olds reportedly taught to use weapons and sent to frontlines. Children were also used to transport explosives, work as spies, carry ammunition or perform domestic chores, Guterres said.

It was estimated more than half of al-Shabab’s force were children,and at least 60 percent of the group’s “elements” captured in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region in March 2016 were youngsters.

Some of those children said they were approached with the promise of education and jobs, he said.

Somalia has been trying to rebuild after recently establishing its first functioning central government since 1991.

However, the country is driven by clan rivalries and threatened by al-Shabab fighters opposed to Western-style democracy.

Thousands of kids recruited 

While al-Shabab was the main perpetrator, the report said the Somali army and other groups also recruited and used children.

According to the report, a task force in Somalia verified the recruitment and use of 6,163 children – 5,993 boys and 230 girls – during the period from April 1, 2010 to July 31, 2016, with more than 30 percent of the cases in 2012. 

Al-Shabab accounted for 70 percent, or 4,213, of verified cases, followed by the Somali National Army with 920 children recruited, it said.

Guterres said he was “deeply troubled by the scale and nature of grave violations against children in Somalia and their increase since 2015”.

He urged all parties in the conflict in Somalia to stop recruiting children and committing violations against them and to abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/guterres-thousands-of-child-soldiers-fight-in-somalia/feed/ 0 Gambia: Yahya Jammeh gets a final deadline to step down
Gambia: Yahya Jammeh gets a final deadline to step down
Gambia: Yahya Jammeh gets a final deadline to step down
Fri, 20 Jan 2017 07:25:32 +0000
Gambia: Yahya Jammeh gets a final deadline to step down
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West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh, who lost elections last month, until midday on Friday to hand over power and agree to leave the Gambia or face military action carried out by the regional bloc ECOWAS. West African troops entered the country to bolster its new President Adama Barrow – who was sworn-in on […]

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Regional leaders postpone military intervention until Friday at noon, giving last chance to Yahya Jammeh to step aside.

West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh, who lost elections last month, until midday on Friday to hand over power and agree to leave the Gambia or face military action carried out by the regional bloc ECOWAS.

West African troops entered the country to bolster its new President Adama Barrow – who was sworn-in on Thursday – but military operations were suspended a few hours later in favour of a final diplomatic push to convince Jammeh, who has stubbornly refused to quit, to exit peacefully.

“We have suspended operations and given him an ultimatum,” said Marcel Alain de Souza, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.

“If by midday he doesn’t agree to leave The Gambia … we really will intervene militarily.”

Adama Barrow sworn in as Gambia’s president in Senegal

Final talks were being led by Guinean President Alpha Conde in the Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Friday morning, according to de Souza.

He said a total of 7,000 troops along with tanks had been mobilised by Senegal and four other nations, which had crossed into the tiny tourist-friendly country on Thursday evening without resistance.

Support for the long-ruling leader has been crumbling. The army chief joined ordinary citizens celebrating in the streets on Thursday seven weeks after contested polls.

“Diplomacy is a long road – it always has been and always will be – so every opportunity to find a resolution is the best means possible for the region,” Robin Sanders, a former US ambassador to ECOWAS, told Al Jazeera. 

“The last thing that West Africa needs is another conflict.” 

While there has been talk that a deal may include an amnesty for Jammeh, whose regime has been accused of various human rights abuses, Sanders said that this would set a bad precedent. 

“Also in this case, I am not in the camp of complete amnesty because what you do is signal additional impunity going forward with other leaders, not only just in the continent but across the world,” she said.

READ MORE: Gambia – Four ministers resign from Jammeh government

Barrow was sworn in at the Gambia’s embassy in Dakar, in neighbouring Senegal, on Thursday.

Celebrations erupted in Banjul, meanwhile, where tensions have run high over the crisis, especially since the declaration of a state of emergency by Jammeh made on Tuesday.

Barrow, a real-estate agent turned politician, had flown into Senegal on January 15 to seek shelter after weeks of rising tension over Jammeh’s stance.

At least 26,000 people have fled the Gambia for Senegal since the start of the crisis fearing unrest, the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said on Wednesday, citing Senegalese government figures.

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/gambia-yahya-jammeh-gets-a-final-deadline-to-step-down/feed/ 0 Adama Barrow sworn in as Gambia's president in Senegal
Adama Barrow sworn in as Gambia's president in Senegal
Adama Barrow sworn in as Gambia's president in Senegal
Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:49:14 +0000
Adama Barrow sworn in as Gambia's president in Senegal
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Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has taken the oath of office in neighbouring Senegal, calling for international support as troops from regional forces entered the small West African country to ensure he assumes power.  Longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, has refused to step down despite losing a disputed December 1 […]

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Adama Barrow, winner of December vote, is inaugurated in Dakar but longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh refuses to cede power.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has taken the oath of office in neighbouring Senegal, calling for international support as troops from regional forces entered the small West African country to ensure he assumes power. 

Longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, has refused to step down despite losing a disputed December 1 presidential election, deepening a political crisis.

Barrow, who had recently sought shelter in Senegal, was inaugurated on Thursday in a hastily-arranged ceremony at Gambia’s embassy in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

“This is a day no Gambian will ever forget in a lifetime,” Barrow said in a speech immediately after being sworn in.

Shortly after his inauguration, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution backing Barrow and called for a peaceful transer of power.

“The people of The Gambia spoke clearly at the elections in December. They chose Adama Barrow to be their president. Their voice now needs to be heard and their will needs to be heeded by just one man,” Peter Wilson, the UK deputy ambassador to the UN, said.

The council’s decision came as the Senegalese and Nigerian armies said they were deploying troops to Gambia as part of an operation by ECOWAS, West Africa’s regional bloc, aiming to uphold the result of last month’s vote.

“The Nigerian military will deploy its assets as part of (a) standby force to protect the people of the Gambia and maintain sub regional peace and security,” Nigeria’s armed forces said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Jammeh had declared a national state of emergency, while the parliament extended his term in office by 90 days. He has not been heard from since his mandate expired at midnight.

At least 26,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal since the start of the crisis fearing unrest, the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said on Wednesday, citing Senegalese government figures.



‘Freedom, hope’

In Dakar, the small embassy room held about 40 people, including Senegal’s prime minister, the head of Gambia’s electoral commission and officials from ECOWAS.

In his inauguration speech, Barrow called ECOWAS, the African Union and United Nations to “support the government and people of the Gambia in enforcing their will”.

He also ordered Gambia’s armed forces to remain in their barracks and called for “allegiance to the motherland”.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar, said large crowds of young people had gathered outside the embassy shouting “freedom” and “hope”.

“People who have spent their entire life under one leadership, one person, and they see in Barrow an opportunity for change”.

Haque added, however, that the “situation is still precarious. As we understand, Jammeh is not ready to let go off Gambia; he is still in charge at least in the capital, Banjul.”

Military operation

Hundreds of West African soldiers have deployed to the Gambian border to back Barrow in a showdown with Jammeh.

READ MORE: Exiled Gambians ponder return to troubled homeland

Senegal’s army had said on Wednesday it would be ready to cross into its smaller neighbour, which it surrounds, from midnight.

“A military operation [is under way] with troops also from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Mali – they are all at the Senegale border and presenting a united front,” Haque said earlier on Thursday.



Also on Thursday, sources told Al Jazeera that Isatou Njie Saidy, Gambia’s vice president since 1997, had quit, becoming the highest level official to abandon Jammeh’s camp.

“Saidy’s resignation comes a series with defections among Jammeh’s entourage,” Haque said.

“Eight cabinet members have resigned saying they no longer stand with Jammeh. But despite all these defections, Jammeh is still not willing to leave office.”

Jammeh, whose mandate expired at midnight, had initially conceded defeat but a week later contested the poll’s results stating irregularities.

READ MORE: Thousands flee Gambia as crisis deepens

Jammeh has resisted strong international pressure for him to step down, but African nations began stepping away from him, with Botswana announcing on Thursday it no longer recognised him as Gambia’s president.

Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power “undermines the ongoing efforts to consolidate democracy and good governance” in Gambia and Africa in general, it said.

Earlier this month, the African Union announced that it would no longer recognise Jammeh once his mandate expired. 

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/adama-barrow-sworn-in-as-gambias-president-in-senegal/feed/ 0 Gambia: Adama Barrow to take oath in Senegal
Gambia: Adama Barrow to take oath in Senegal
Gambia: Adama Barrow to take oath in Senegal
Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:07:28 +0000
Gambia: Adama Barrow to take oath in Senegal
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The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow says he will be sworn in at the country’s embassy in neighbouring Senegal, as regional forces massed at the border to force incumbent Yahya Jammeh to quit after his election defeat. In messages posted on his social media accounts, Barrow said that the inauguration was going to take place as […]

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Gambia's president-elect to be sworn in at Dakar embassy as incumbent refuses to go despite threat of military action.

The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow says he will be sworn in at the country’s embassy in neighbouring Senegal, as regional forces massed at the border to force incumbent Yahya Jammeh to quit after his election defeat.

In messages posted on his social media accounts, Barrow said that the inauguration was going to take place as scheduled on Thursday in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar, said representatives of West African heads of states were expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony, due to take place at 16:00 GMT.

“A very significant moment for the Gambian history,” Haque said.

There was a heavy security presence at Gambia’s Dakar-based embassy on Thursday afternoon. Embassy staff climbed on to the roof to replace the faded Gambian flag with a new one.

It was not clear how Barrow will travel to Gambia.

VP quits

Earlier on Thursday, sources told Al Jazeera that Isatou Njie Saidy, Gambia’s vice president since 1997, had quit, becoming the highest level official to abandon Jammeh’s camp in his standoff with opposition Barrow, who won last month’s presidential election.

“Saidy’s resignation comes after a series with defections among Jammeh’s entourage,” Haque said.



AL JAZEERA’S NICOLAS HAQUE, REPORTING FROM DAKAR IN NEIGHBOURING SENEGAL: 

Troops from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Togo are at the borders of Senegal, waiting for a green light to intervene and unseat Yahya Jammeh, who according to the constitution is no longer the country’s legitimate ruler.

Banjul has been turned into a “ghost town'”with tens of thousands of people fleeing the capital and at least 26,000 crossing the border into Senegal.

Meanwhile, Ousman Badjie, the chief of defence staff, has said that he will not put his men on the line and they will not fight or die for Yahya Jammeh. 


“Eight cabinet members have resigned saying they no longer stand with Jammeh. But despite all these defections, Jammeh is still not willing to concede defeat.”

Jammeh initially acknowledged Barrow as the winner of the December 1 vote, but later rejected the result stating irregularities.

Earlier this week, he declared a national state of emergency, and on Wednesday The Gambia’s national assembly approved a resolution to extend his term by 90 days.

Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia since a 1994 coup, is refusing to step down, despite international condemnation and a threat of a military intervention by West African countries to enforce his election defeat.

In and around Gambia’s capital, Banjul, shops were closed and streets quiet, with tour operators evacuating hundreds of tourists from the small West African country’s popular beach resorts.

Military operation

The United Nations Security Council was to vote later on Thursday on endorsing a West African military intervention as Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana dispatched hundreds of troops and fighter jets to Gambia’s border with Senegal.

Senegal’s army had said on Wednesday it would be ready to cross into its smaller neighbour, which it surrounds, from midnight.



“A military operation [is under way] with troops also from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Mali – they are all at the Senegal border and presenting a united front,” Haque said.

A senior Nigerian military source told Reuters news agency that regional forces would only act once Barrow had been sworn in.

“What the Senegalese said about the midnight deadline was to put pressure on Jammeh. It was a show of muscle,” a diplomat in the region told Reuters.

The UN said at least 26,000 people fearing unrest have fled to Senegal and tour operators have sent charter jets to fly hundreds of European holiday makers out of the country.

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]]> http://amediaagency.com/gambia-adama-barrow-to-take-oath-in-senegal/feed/ 0 Vice President Saidy quits, abandoning Yahya Jammeh
Vice President Saidy quits, abandoning Yahya Jammeh
Vice President Saidy quits, abandoning Yahya Jammeh
Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:23:29 +0000
Vice President Saidy quits, abandoning Yahya Jammeh
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Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy has quit, Al Jazeera has learned, amid rising political tensions as Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down as president despite losing a December election. Saidy, who had been in the role since 1997, is the highest level official to abandon Jammeh’s camp in his standoff with opposition leader Adama Barrow, […]

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Saidy is the highest level official to abandon Jammeh, who refuses to step down despite losing last month's election.

Gambia’s Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy has quit, Al Jazeera has learned, amid rising political tensions as Yahya Jammeh refuses to step down as president despite losing a December election.

Saidy, who had been in the role since 1997, is the highest level official to abandon Jammeh’s camp in his standoff with opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won the election.

Jammeh, who lost a December 1 presidential vote to Barrow, has refused to leave office despite international pressure and a threat by leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, to enforce his election defeat.

Barrow – who fled to Senegal earlier in the week – has pledged to go ahead with his inauguration on Thursday.

The president-elect on Thursday tweeted that he would be holding the inauguration ceremony at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

Jammeh’s whereabouts were unknown on Thursday, hours after a last-minute failed attempt by Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to convince him to give up the presidency.

Troops from Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana on Thursday remained in position in Senegal in case a military intervention becomes necessary.

Sidi Sanneh, the former Gambian foreign minister, told Al Jazeera: “There is a certain faction in the [Gambian] army, who decided that they will not fight a losing battle [against the intervening troops] … As far as we are concerned, we don’t expect much of a resistance from that end of the military establishment.”

He added: “However, there is another faction, the favourite of Jammeh, who enjoyed the fruits of the 22 years of dictatorship. We expect them to put up a fight. How much of a fight? That is still up in the air.”

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