ECOWAS must consider religious leaders in Gambia impasse – WANEP

The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has said mediators working to get Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power to the new President of The Gambia must consider Imams in the process.

Deputy Executive Director of WANEP, Levina Addai-Mensah, says although the use of military force is important to discourage Mr Jammeh from attempting to undo Thursday’s inauguration of Adama Barrow as President, involving Islamic religious leaders is important.

Mr Jammeh Mr Jammeh has refused to step down after the country’s electoral commission declared Mr Barrow winner of the national elections.

He first conceded defeat but made a U-turn to call for fresh elections citing irregularities during the electoral process.

The ECOWAS mediators, led by Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and supported by co-mediator, John Dramani Mahama and ECOWAS president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have failed to get Jammeh to step down.

However, they have played a key role in Barrow’s inauguration on Thursday.

Adama Barrow, a real estate mogul and political novice, was sworn-in as President of The Gambia at country’s embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

Jammeh has not been seen since the inauguration and speculations are that he may have left the country.

A reporter for the West Africa Radio, Benjamin Tetteh, says it is rumoured that Mr Jammeh may have sneaked out through Senegal to Guinea.

Meanwhile, Senegalese troops working on behalf of the regional body, ECOWAS, have entered the country quell any disruptions to Mr Barrow’s assumption as President.

Mr Jammeh has up to noon on Friday to relinquish power or face force, according to the ECOWAS.

Speaking on current affairs programme, PM Express, WANEP’s Deputy Executive Director told show host, Malik Abass Daabu, efforts to ensure a smooth transfer of power would be boosted by the involvement of religious leaders.

 “Given that he [Jammeh] carries himself as being religious and very spiritual it is important to consider some track three actors in the mediation processes – we are looking at traditional leaders and religious leaders,” Addai-Mensah said.

An International Public Law Lecturer, Nana Kwame Agyemang, who was also on the show, blamed comments of some elements within the opposition coalition that Mr Barrow heads as the cause of Jammeh’s refusal to leave office.

“Elements within Adama Barrows party have said that he [Jammeh] was going to be put on trial so I think he felt threatened a little bit and then he made the u-turn. That is the only reason that could explain some of his actions,” said the lecturer.

Watch the entire programme in the video link below.


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