Gambia's president-elect to be sworn in on Gambian soil
19 Jan 2017 - 11:12
BANJUL, Gambia: Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow will take the oath of office in Gambia when Jammeh’s term expires on Jan. 19 despite his temporal stay in Senegal for his safety, Halifa Sallah, Barrow's spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.
After losing Dec. 1, 2016 elections, President Yahya Jammeh's term in office expires on Jan.19. However, he refused to step down claiming that the process was tainted with “unacceptable irregularities”.
“The president elect must be sworn in tomorrow. He will be sworn in Gambia… He is the president of Gambia and that is why we are working very hard to see Gambians who should transfer power will do sure,” spokesperson Halifa Sallah said.
“His right is to be inaugurated and he will not abrogate that right for anything… The victory will not be taken away from them.”
Barrow who has the support of the regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, and the African Union as well as the United Nations, is currently in Dakar where he proceeded after attending a summit with regional powers in Mali.
Some speculate that Barrow may take oath in Gambian embassy in Dakar which is technically a Gambian soil as Jammeh refused to cede power.
The regional forces have threatened to oust him using force, and though Jammeh remains defiant, 9 of his cabinet ministers and most of foreign ambassadors have resigned.
“What is happening in Gambia is unique… That is people taking charge and everything is at a standstill… One must accept the end when it has come,” Sallah said referring to people abandoning Jammeh in protest of his actions.
Gambian leader has declared a state of emergency on Tuesday but Sallah said the condition which leads to the security volatility that warranted the declaration was created by the President himself.
“The condition of the state of emergency was created because of the situation created by the incumbent,” he said.
He expressed hope that Jammeh “will cede power and save Gambia from unrest, bloodshed”.
“We have gone to the polls under very difficult circumstances and won… He owns all the government facilities and we defeated him. He should accept. That is what is moral, that is what is just and that is what is reasonable,” he added.
Sallah said the situation in the country can change and they “are working to the best of our ability to ensure that happens” before midnight today.
Meanwhile, as the expiration of the term of President Jammeh approaches, the presence of fear of further descending into violence is literally palpable in the air in Banjul.
Shops are closed down as people run from one stall to another to buy food stuff in expectation of war when regional forces start their onslaught, possibly midnight when Jammeh’s term expires.
The streets are almost cleared of people and most businesses have closed down in Serrekunda, country’s economy center, as well as at Kairaba Avenue, Gambia’s financial district houses banks, restaurants and other businesses.
Close to 1,000 British tourists are being evacuated from the small nation as fears of violence rises.
The United Nations said Wednesday that at least 26,000 people have fled Gambia into Senegal fearing unrest, citing Senegalese government figures.
"Up until the night of the Jan.16 there were 26,000 people .... The flow has increased sharply since then," Helene Caux, the regional information officer for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said.
She said up to 80 percent were children accompanied by women.