(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia Tuesday used his party dominated National Assembly to declare a 90 day state of public emergency in the country less than 24 hours before his term expires.
The motion, which was championed by Fabakary Tombong Jatta, majority leader and member for Serrekunda East is in response to the unlawful and malicious foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs following last month’s dispute election results.
Under the state of emergency, Mr Jammeh said “any acts of disobedience to the laws the Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace” are banned.
He said the unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign inference in the December 1 presidential elections and also in the internal affairs of the country has created an “unwarranted hostile atmosphere, threatening the sovereignty, peace, security and stability of the country.
While urging locals to go about their daily businessess, he said security forces were instructed to “maintain absolute peace, law and order.
Mr Jammeh, 51, who has governed the Gambia since July 1994 is refusing to relinquish power to opposition candidate Adama Barrow, the surprised winner of the election
He has accused the country’s electoral commission of rigging the election in favour of the opposition.
His attempt to overturn the election result at the Supreme Court has been delayed because of a shortage of judges as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries.
The regional group, Ecowas, which tried unsuccessfully to convince Mr Jammeh to handover power peacefully has warned of serious consequences if Mr Barrow’s is blocked on Thursday.
And as the deadline nears, Nigeria has deployed its newest warship, the NNS Unity, to the Gambia ahead of a planned military intervention to enforce the outcome of the election results.
But in response, Gambian lawmakers approved a resolution condemning the’ unlawful and malicious’ interference in the internal affairs of the Gambia by the AU Peace and Security Council, Government of the Republic of Senegal, and Senegal’s representative at the United Nation’s Security Council.”
The resolution also approved a proclamation of a state of public emergency for a further period of 90 days effective from the 17th January 2017.
They also extended the life of the National Assembly for a further period of 90 days effective from the 11th April to 11th July 2017.
Adama Barrow has condemned the resolution, which he described as unlawful and a fundamental breach of the spirit and letter of the basic law. He said his the state of emergency will not stop his new government from assuming power.
In a statement issued through Mai Ahmad Fatty, a senior member of the opposition coalition, Mr Barrow said: “Let me make it absolutely clear: an executive directive does not constitute law, and cannot override the law. Parliament has the power to legislate, yet a statute cannot override the constitution.
“Parliament has no legislative competence under relevant legal and factual considerations to concede to this travesty. It cannot oust either the application of, or the effect of the application of Section 63 of the constitution. Section 34 of the constitution is unambiguous: it can only be invoked subject to a compulsive precondition – “a situation exists, which if allowed to continue, may lead to a public state of emergency”.
The only state of facts is the pompous display of executive lawlessness by the outgoing President Jammeh. This grievous abuse of the law by parliament in excess of its powers, amount to a fundamental breach of the spirit and letter of the basic law. Therefore, this unlawful declaration, will neither stand, nor will it be respected. It changes nothing.”