West African states prepare to invade Gambia to force Yahya Jammeh to hand power to president-elect Adama Barrow.
CREDIT: ADRIAN BLOMFIELD, TELEGRAPH
By Ola-lawal Muzzamil Oladayo.
Following the shocking loss from last month’s presidential election in the country, the incumbent president of the Islamic state of Gambia has vowed not to hand over power to the next administration. The inauguration ceremony which was initially scheduled to hold last Thursday following a turn around by the incumbent. A rescheduling is however accustomed with uncertainty, uproar and fear. The 22 year long serving president wishes to hold on to power longer even after a democratical defeat.
In response, Leaders of West African states are planning to forcefully stop Yahyah Jammeh if he fails to hand over in the next couple of days. Amid these fears, thousands of people have begun leave the country to save themselves from the unknown. As the West African states plan their invade on the former British colony, Regional leaders have also signaled their determination to mount a rare African defense of democratic principle by using force to ensure that Yahya Jammeh gives up power.
Nigeria has reportedly asked British military advisers to assist in planning a “rapid reaction” military incursion into Gambia in order to install Adama Barrow, the election’s surprise winner, as the country’s new president.
Adama Barrow, a former real estate agent who briefly worked as a security guard at an Argos catalogue store while studying in London, and who was supposed to have been sworn in on Thursday, has also taken a leave out of the country to Senegal in cognizance with the advice of the regional leaders. He will not return home until his inauguration. This perhaps was taken to keep him and his mandate safe.
The president-elect’s inauguration plans were struck by tragedy after his son Habibu, who was eight, died on the way to hospital on Sunday after being bitten by
a dog the previous evening near the capital Banjul, according to the BBC and postings by Gambians on Twitter.
With time for a diplomatic solution rapidly running out leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a 15-state regional bloc, have authorised a military response that has the unofficial blessing of the United Nations Security Council. Although the proposed mission is likely to be headed by Senegal, Nigerian troops are likely to make up the bulk of the force. The Nigerian government last week authorised generals to mobilise an 800-strong battalion to spearhead the mission.
The Regional presidents have continue to urge Mr Jammeh, who ousted his internationally-respected predecessor Sir Dawda Jawara in a coup in 1994, to leave office. He is also seen by critics as a serial human-rights abuser who once vowed to “rule for a billion years with the help of Allah”. Mr. jammeh who is suppose to yield the urge has instead shut independent radio stations, arrested activists and sent soldiers to storm the electoral commission.
All one can hope for now is for a peaceful transition in the Islamic state of The Gambia.