Gambia’s president-elect in Senegal ‘until his inauguration’
DAKAR – Agence France-PresseThe inauguration of The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow will go ahead on Jan. 19, his spokesman insisted on Jan. 15, as President Yahya Jammeh declared once again he would not step down by then.
Jammeh has refused to cede power after disputing the result of a Dec. 1, 2016 election won by Barrow, triggering a crisis that has led the president-elect to appeal for help from west African allies.
“Jammeh’s term shall end on the 19th [of January] and the same date president-elect Barrow’s term begins. Nothing will change that. He will be sworn in and shall assume office on that date without fail,” spokesman Mai Fatty told AFP in Dakar.
Earlier in the day it was confirmed Senegalese President Macky Sall had accepted a request by Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to host Barrow in Dakar until his inauguration.
Fatty would not expand on where the inauguration would take place and under what circumstances, given the expected difficulty for Barrow of returning to Banjul.
Throwing the country’s collision course politics into stark relief, Jammeh said later on Jan. 15 he had spoken to Sirleaf by phone and was adamant he would not budge until a legal challenge he has lodged against the result was heard.
“The so-called deadline of 19th January 2017 is not cast in stone and all parties shall await the outcome of the Supreme Court,” he said on state television.
Jammeh said a separate injunction filed last week would “restrain Mr Adama Barrow from being sworn in as well as restraining the chief justice and any other party from swearing in Mr Adama Barrow,” until the Supreme Court decision was made.
Until then, Jammeh said, “the status quo remains.”
A source in the Senegalese presidency told AFP it had been agreed Barrow would stay briefly in Dakar following consultations with other heads of state from the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) at a Bamako summit.
The 15-nation bloc has repeatedly called on Jammeh to respect the result of the vote and leave after 22 years in power.