(JollofNews) West African leaders are due in the Gambian capital, Banjul, on Friday to convince the country’s sit-tight president Yahya Jammeh to accept the outcome of the December 1st election and relinquish power.
Mr Jammeh has been given until midday on Friday to leave office or be forced out by UN-backed Senegal led regional forces who crossed into Gambian territory on Thursday.
And in a bid to avoid potential loss of lives, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania and Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who is also the chairperson of Ecowas, will meet Mr Jammeh to convince him to hand over power to Mr Barrow.
Mr Barrow was sworn-in on Thursday as the Gambia’s third president at a ceremony held at the Gambian embassy in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, which was attended by western and African dignitaries.
The negotiations will be led by President Conde, another good friend of Mr Jammeh, who persuaded the military forces to paused their advances towards Banjul on Thursday pending today’s negotiations.
The chairman of the Ecowas Commission, Marcel Alain de Souza, said that if the meeting with Mr Conde proved unsuccessful, militarily action would follow.
“If by midday, he [Mr Jammeh] doesn’t agree to leave The Gambia under the banner of President Conde, we really will intervene militarily,” he said.
Tension is currently high in the small West African nation with a population of less than two million people after Mr Jammeh annulled the results and filed a petition at the supreme court.
The results were called in favour of Adama Barrow and his opposition coalition.
Mr Jammeh initially conceded defeat and praised the country’s electoral system as rigged proof. He changed his mind a week later citing huge and unacceptable mistakes by the electoral commission.
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.
And although his mandate expired on Wednesday, Mr Jammeh is insisting on staying put until the his petition is heard by the Supreme Court in May.