The Government of Botswana has officially cut ties with Yahya Jammeh, as it says it ceases to recognize him as President of The Gambia.
A statement issued on Thursday, January 19, said the decision takes effect immediately. Botswana becomes the first country to officially denounce Mr. Jammeh as President of the Gambia.
The statement issued by the government said its decision was because Yahya Jammeh has refused to hand over power in obedience of the will of the Gambian people, who democratically voted real estate mogul, Adama Barrow, as their new President.
“Following Mr. Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power to the President-elect Adama Barrow, in accordance with the expressed will of the Gambian people, the Government of Botswana announces that it will no longer recognize Mr. Jammeh as the President of Gambia, together with his Government,” the statement said.
It added that, Jammeh’s posture undermined the ongoing efforts to promote democracy in Africa. It further called on the international community to exert pressure on Mr. Jammeh to relinquish power and ensure a smooth transition to the new government.
Read the full statement below:
RE: THE GAMBIA – BOTSWANA NO LONGER RECOGNISES MR. JAMMEH PRESS RELEASE
Gaborone, 19th January 2017: Following Mr. Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power to the President-elect Adama Barrow, in accordance with the expressed will of the Gambian people, the Government of Botswana announces that it will no longer recognise Mr. Jammeh as the President of Gambia, together with his Government.
This decision which takes effect immediately is consistent with Botswana’s position as articulated through the Press Release of 16th December 2016.
Mr. Jammeh’s decision not to respect the will of the Gambian people undermines the ongoing efforts to consolidate democracy and good governance in The Gambia and Africa as a whole.
This is also in direct contravention of the spirit and aspirations of the African Union Constitutive Act.
The Government of Botswana therefore continues to appeal to the international community to do all within its power to exert pressure on Mr. Jammeh to hand over power in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Jammeh tenure expires
Jammeh’s tenure which expired at midnight on Wednesday, was earlier extended by 90 days by Gambia’s Parliament.
A state of emergency has also been declared in the country.
Barrow stays in Senegal
President-elect Adama Barrow has been living in Senegal for the past few days, following a request by West African leaders after a summit in Mali. Several talks between Jammeh, ECOWAS and AU leaders in a bid to have him step down have failed.
ECOWAS troops head to Gambia
ECOWAS troops from Nigeria, Ghana, and neighboring countries, have however been deployed troops to The Gambia, to ensure that the rule of law prevails in that country.
Ghana and Nigeria have so far deployed 205 and 200 military personnel respectively.
Why is Mr. Jammeh refusing to leave office?
The Gambia regularly held elections, which he won until last year.
Mr Jammeh had said there were irregularities in the election process, including the turning away of some of his supporters from polling stations, and errors made by the Electoral Commission.
The Commission accepted that some of the results it initially published contained errors, but said Mr. Barrow had still won. Mr Jammeh has said he will stay in office until new elections are held.
Retaining power would have ensured he was not prosecuted in The Gambia for alleged abuses committed during his rule.
The US state department urged Mr. Jammeh to peacefully transfer power to Mr Barrow on Thursday.
“Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect The Gambian people from potential chaos,” spokesman John Kirby said.