President Jammeh addressing Gambians

(JollofNews) – President Yahya of the Gambia Saturday vowed to defend his country against any aggression.

Mr Jammeh said his regime will not compromise any foreign invasion and will defend  the territorial sovereignty of the Gambia.

Leaders of the West African regional grouping have officially authorised a so-called Ecowas Standby Force (ESF) to intervene militarily in the Gambia and enforce the outcome of a presidential election earlier this month if defeated President Yahya Jammeh refuses to give up power when his mandate expires on January 18.

A December 17 resolution leaked to the {African Press Agency} on Wednesday mandates the ESF to deploy a Senegal-led military force to oust Jammeh who is challenging the election result after initially conceding defeat to Barrow and promising a smooth handover of power.

But in his New Year’s televised address to Gambians, Mr Jammeh said the decision of Ecowas to implement the election results by whatever means possible is totally illegal as it violates the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, which is an entrenched clause in the Ecowas treaty.

Even the goats have decided against Jammeh

“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution and it is therefore absolutely unacceptable. This blatant and one-sided dimensional approach that the role of Ecowas is not predicated on the pursuit of justice in the resolution of this stalemate,” he said.

“This partisanship of Ecowas has also disqualified it from providing mediation services as the genuine mediator has to be neutral and impartial to win the confidence and trust of the parties to the conflict. Thus, we will not enter into negations brokered by Ecowas if it does not recognised that provisions of the Gambian constitution provides the basic legal principles to guide the sorting out of the details of this stalemate in order to arrive at a peaceful resolution legally binding on both parties.”

Ecowas leaders met Jammeh to persuade him to handover power

Mr Jammeh, 51, who has ruled the Gambia since 1994 added: “Without this quest for justice within the context of the constitution of the Gambia and the elimination of the threat of use of force in the position of Ecowas, the impasse will continue with the risk of escalation into a military confrontation.

“We have been principled, vehemently condemned violence but we shall never condone injustice and we will also not be threatened. Our sovereignty will not be compromised. Let me make very clear, we are ready to defend this country against any aggression and there will be no compromise for that. My government will Inshallah  [Allah willing] never  opt for such confrontation unless when we are compelled to defend our sovereignty, independence and dignity.

“Defending our independence and sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians more so the Gambia Armed Forces. On the basis of liberate policy, my government developed an atmosphere of peace and stability in our country and we remain strongly committed to guard the sustenance of this culture of peace that is the envy of my nation and we will defend it to the last person.”

Mr Jammeh added that the basis of his protest and rejection of the election results after he initially conceded defeat and offered to guide and counsel the declared winner, Adama Barrow, in the execution of his duties is in the pursue of justice as provided for in the constitution of the Gambia.

Nigerian combat ready soldiers

He added: “What we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and allow the Gambians to elect who they want to be their president in a free and fair elections to be organised by a fresh, patriotic, Allah-fearing and honest independent electoral commission just like it was under the leadership of [the previous chairman of the electoral commission] Mr [Mustapha] Carayol.

“The moral behind my nullification of the results is that in as much as I will not cheat or allow anyone to cheat on my behalf, so will I not tolerate any one to cheat me.”

Mr Jammeh said in spite of the fact that cheating is prohibited by both Islam and Christianity and that cheating in election is prohibited by law, and petition against election fraud is provided for in the Gambian constitution, some interest groups and individuals have championed the campaign for him to step down thereby dismissing the legitimacy of his protest.

“In filing a petition at the supreme court, I am merely acting in accordance with the oath I took to defend the Constitution of the Gambia as your president and to exercise my rights of appeal as a candidate in the December 2016 elections,” he said.

“I have noticed that there are appeals in some quarters for me to step down. This tantamount to disregarding this constitutional provision that should govern the resolution of the current impasse.

“Most if not all the reasons advanced in their appeal for me to re-embrace my initial position are based on fears of a military confrontation that leads to violence and concerns for an outbreak of war in this peaceful country of ours.”