The UN’s west Africa envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas says Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh must step down when his mandate ends in January to enable opposition leader Adama Barrow to take office after his election win.
Speaking to AFP in Dakar, Senegal,he said that as Jammeh’s five-year mandate ended on January 19, he had a constitutional right to remain in office until then.
“Between now and January 19th it is Jammeh that is the constitutionally elected president,” he said. “By January 19th he should be ready to hand over power.”
On Monday Barrow had called for the president to step down “now” as his coalition became increasingly annoyed by Jammeh’s refusal to admit defeat in the December 1 election and his party’s legal challenge against the result.
Commenting on opposition worries that Jammeh could try to cling on to power pending the outcome of the legal case lodged Wednesday by the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reconciliation and Construction (APRC), Chambas said: “That legal process has nothing to do with the term of his mandate.”
His spokesman earlier told AFP that the ongoing police occupation of The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) — the object of the APRC’s legal complaint — was an “unacceptable act”. “It is a violation of the independent nature, guaranteed by the constitution, of the electoral commission, as some soldiers have taken away commission materials relating to the presidential election,” the spokesman added. Meanwhile, chairman of the IEC, Alieu Momar Njie, told AFP morning that he had not yet been informed why he was locked out of his own premises.
He further dismissed Jammeh’s legal challenge of the IEC’s election result as unworkable due to a lack of judges on the Supreme Court, which is the body mandated to decide on cases of electoral law.-—AFP