Michael Scales

(JollofNews) – There is an old saying that may have particular resonance to what is going down in the Gambia just now “give a man enough rope and he will hang himself.” The Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle, being mentioned in Mr Jammeh’s lawyers petition, has done the right thing and removed himself from hearing the said petition.

Meanwhile, Mr Jammeh’s Sunday phone call to the chairperson of the Ecowas mediation team, President  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, broadcast to the nation only proved two things. One Ecowas is trying every which way to avoid conflict, and two, the incapacity of President Jammeh to maintain the privacy and decorum and the integrity of President Sirleaf.

This is shocking to say the least. President Jammeh’s true colours have been mercilessly exposed as a man who will stoop to any cheap trick to cheat the Gambian people of their constitutional will as expressed in the December 1st  general election results, as confirmed by the Independent Electoral Commission.

The further hearing being debated in the Gambian National Assembly over the next three days, is a further opportunity for the APRC to extricate themselves from any further dishonour or embarrassment for themselves and for the democratic future of President-elect Barrow’s rightful victory.

Mr Barrow must be allowed free passage to his inauguration set for 19th January 2017, a historic day for all Gambians. If President Jammeh had stuck to his original view of acknowledging Mr Barrow’s victory as free and fair, both himself and the APRC could have had every chance to recover some credibility and regrouped to contest the next election in three years time with every chance of victory.

But unfortunately, President Jammeh has jettisoned any such opportunity, and significantly abandoned his party to the doldrums all in the cause of his own self-preservation.

Meanwhile lives have been put at grave risk and the economic certainty of the Gambia has been put in jeopardy. President Jammeh has every right to ask the Supreme Court to hear his petition, but the fact that he had abandoned the said court from sitting due to his neglect to appoint judges for the court should not be any excuse to try to undermine the inauguration of President-elect Barrow.

This is a situation of neglect to duty by President Jammeh himself. So to use this as an excuse to delay the peaceful transfer of power to Mr Barrow is a lame duck excuse.

The Gambia is bigger than one man. Mr Jammeh should do the right thing and step down. Mr Barrow is not going to pursue any witch hunt against Mr Jammeh and if his word is not trusted by Mr Jammeh he can still get asylum from Nigeria, if free passage to the presidency is offered to President-elect Barrow by the 19th January 2017. Any other concern or issue from Mr Jammeh is irrelevant.

Therefore, the National Assembly must maintain the fabric and the integrity of the Gambia and not make good any decision that would lead the Gambia and the Gambian people to a costly and dangerous war with fellow Ecowas nations.