The West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) is asking for a strong backing of the international community for newly sworn-in Gambian president Adama Barrow.
Executive Director for WANEP Chukwu Emeka told Joy News the new president must make it clear to the international community that his country is under siege and every support possible is needed to get former president Yahya Jammeh out of office.
Mr Emeka does not advocate for military action to oust Jammeh but will not rule that out if that is the only way to get him out of office.
His comments come hours after Barrow was sworn-in at the Gambian High Commission in Senegal in the presence of key international dignatories including UN Envoy Ibn Chambass and other ECOWAS and AU representatives.
“I say congratulations to Adama Barrow for the swearing in and to the Gambia people for their resilience,” Chukwu Emeka said, adding when the people have spoken presidents must give way.
Despite the swearing-in, Yahya Jammeh still remains at post in Gambia with no immediate plans to leave office after the election defeat.
Ready for death
The spokesperson of the Gambian leader has given the clearest indication Jammeh is ready to die on the throne if military action is the option taken by ECOWAS forces who are massing up the country’s border.
Seedy Njie told the BBC Jammeh does not recognize the swearing in of Barrow and has described the action as illegal.
He said the country’s military forces will defend Gambian territory if challenged by aggressors from ECOWAS.
“We are not concerned about troops massing up at our border. The security of this country will protect the sovereignty of the country,” he said.
The former Gambian ruler lost a December 1 2016 election to Adama Barrow after a 23-year stay in office.
He conceded defeat only to make a u-turn to challenge the results of the election declared by the country’s Electoral Commission.
He has petitioned the country’s Supreme Court seeking to overturn the election results and has refused to leave office. No amount of diplomacy will make him change his mind to hand over power peacefully.
The Gambian parliament has extended his stay for three more months and has declared a state of emergency for that same period.
However, his term of office is deemed to have come to an end on the night of January 19 at 12:00 midnight.
The new president was sworn-in at the Gambian territory in Senegal amidst chants of praise from some Gambian nationals.
With what looks like two presidents in one small country of 2.5 million population, the WANEP Executive Director said Adama Barrow and the ECOWAS have followed due process in swearing in the new Gambian leader.
He dismissed claims that Jammeh acted lawfully by extending his stay in office for three months and petitioning the Supreme Court of the country to overturn the results.
Chukwu Emeka said there is a pronouncement by the Gambia’s Electoral Commission that declared Barrow president elect and until a constitutional court says otherwise, Barrow remains the president-elect and Jammeh does not have any power to extend his own mandate.
Such an act, he posited is lawless and a bad precedent to accept.
He justified the swearing-in of Barrow in the Gambian High Commission in Senegal which he says is an extension of the Gambian territory.
Gambian streets remain deserted
Benjamin Tetteh, a Ghanaian journalist working in Senegal and who was present during the swearing in of Adama Barrow is reporting a former Gambian Foreign Minister as saying the Gambian army will not resist any attempt by the ECOWAS troops to oust Jammeh.
According to the Foreign Minister the Gambian Army General has pledged support for the newly sworn-in president. There is however no independent confirmation yet.