Despite pressure from West African leaders, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has vowed not to relinquish power to president-elect Adama Barrow, after he lost the December 1st election.
He rather condemned mediation by West African leaders that aims to get him to leave power, saying that ‘nobody can deprive me’ of presidency.
Jammeh made these comments in the country’s state television on Tuesday, following pressure from both global and African leaders urging the long serving president to hand over power before Jauary 18, when Barrow is expected to be inaugurated.
“I am not a coward. My right cannot be intimidated and violated. This is my position. Nobody can deprive me of that victory except the Almighty Allah,” Jammeh said.
“Already the Ecowas [economic community of west African states] meeting was a formality. Before they came, they had already said Jammeh must step down. I will not step down,” he said.
Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, lost the election to a property developer, Adama Barrow, who won more than 45% of the vote.
Jammeh had initially conceded defeat, but on December 9, he reversed his position and said he would challenge the result in Gambia’s Supreme Court, a move that has been condemned by world leaders across the globe.
Last week, Ecowas said Jammeh must step down next month when his term runs out and vowed “to take all necessary action to enforce the results” of the poll.
On Tuesday, French president François Hollande said the results of the 1 December polls were “indisputable” and that Barrow “must be installed as soon as possible”.
“The matter is non-negotiable,” Hollande said after a meeting in Paris with visiting Senegalese president Macky Sall, whose country nearly surrounds the Gambia.
The United Nations Security Council also condemned Jammeh’s rejection of election results, urging all parties to refrain from violence.
“(Security Council members) called on him to respect the choice of the sovereign People of The Gambia, as he did on 2 December 2016, and to transfer, without condition and undue delay, power to the President-elect, Mr. Adama Barrow,” it said in a statement.