Four West African leaders including the Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently traveled to Banjul on Tuesday December 13th, 2016 to meet President Yahya Jammeh. The ECOWAS leaders came to Banjul to urge the Gambian leader to relinquish power as he graciously admitted defeat at the December 1st Presidential elections which saw the opposition coalition upsetting the incumbent by defeating him at the polls. The elections in the Gambia were conducted peacefully and the voters rejected the iron fist leader who has been ruling tiny Gambia with impunity for 22 years.
The urgent visit of Nigerian President Buhari, Ghana’s outgoing President Mahama, Sierra Leone’s Bai Koroma and ECOWAS Chair and President of Liberia Johnson Sirleaf was prompted by Jammeh’s abrupt reversal of his earlier position of conceding the elections to rival opposition Adama Barrow and his opposition coalition. Yahya Jammeh after coming to reality check with the inevitability of him leaving power – something he never anticipated, he reserved his decision and rejected the election results and declared the entire elections void. Jammeh’s revision immediately attracted world wide condemnation after initially receiving praises for peacefully conceding the elections. Many Gambians were shocked that Jammeh had in fact graciously congratulated the president elect and extended an olive branch to work with the incoming President-Elect. Jammeh is however, not usually known for his graciousness especially when it comes to staying in power by all means.
West African leaders have been adamant about encouraging member states to embrace Democracy and introduce Presidential term limits. When the delegation left, Jammeh spoke to his cabinet about the process.