African Union Says Gambia President’s Rejection Of Poll Results Is “Null And Void”
The African Union on Saturday called a statement by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh rejecting his loss in December 1 polls “null and void” since he had already conceded defeat.
“The Chairperson of the Commission strongly urges President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who also called on Gambia’s security forces to remain neutral.
Jammeh on Friday called for another election in the West African country after narrowly losing to opposition leader Adama Barrow. He had already conceded defeat publicly last week.
The announcement on state television threw Gambia’s future into doubt after the unexpected election result ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.
Meanwhile, Gambian authorities have refused entry to the chair of regional body, ECOWAS, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Senegal’s foreign minister said on Saturday, dampening hopes for a political solution after Jammeh rejected the results of elections.
The streets of Banjul were calm on Saturday, although some residents said they were staying at home for fear of violence.
Reuters reports that Sirleaf had hoped to put back on track Gambia’s first democratic transition of power in over 50 years, but those plans appeared thwarted on Saturday when her plane was denied landing access at Banjul.
“Johnson Sirleaf was supposed to fly in today, but Jammeh said ‘not at the moment,'” Senegal Foreign Minister, Mankeur Ndiaye told Reuters. It was not clear if the plane had already taken off.
Sirleaf’s camp was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for Jammeh’s government could not be reached.
As Gambians brace for a tense standoff, international criticism of Jammeh’s claim came in fast. Following the United States and Senegal, the African Union on Saturday weighed in, calling Jammeh’s statement “null and void”.
“The Chairperson of the Commission strongly urges President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who also called on Gambia’s security forces to remain neutral.