Dangerous Stalemate in Gambia’s Crisis

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By Dida Halake, Notting Hill, London, UK.

My London newspaper, the Guardian, this morning, brings news of the dangerous situation developing in The Gambia.

Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Hollande of France are quoted as stating clearly that “Jammeh must leave the Presidency in The Gambia” – as the Gambian people voted for the election winner Adama Barrow the President-elect.

Jammeh is quoted as saying :“I am not going anywhere. Adama Barrow is Ex-President Elect. I have nullified the election”.

Sall and Hollande state categorically that “Jammeh’s Departure is Non-Negotiable”.

Sall’s Senegal is Francophone Africa’s military power, and France is the West’s power in West Africa–with troops current in the region. Their “Jammeh’s Departure is Non-Negotiable” position is backed by ECOWAS, the EU, UK, USA and the United Nations. Their position is also backed by a dozen of Gambia’s Diplomatic Corp – including ambassadors in USA, UK, Russia and China who have just published a communiqué asking Jammeh to go. The Gambia’s Civil Society and Professional Associations have all asked Jammeh to go – as have the main Christian and Muslim organisations in The Gambia. The University Students are on strike until Jammeh goes. The Gambian electorate voted against Jammeh.

If the whole world says Jammeh’s Departure is Non-Negotiable, it is difficult to see what Jammeh hopes to gain by insisting that he “will not go”. All that Jammeh can possibly “gain” is bring a Libya-style chaos to The Gambia – but that won’t happen. A military solution to the “Jammeh-problem” may be the only option left to the world after 18th January 2017, but that would not make The Gambia descend into chaos as happened in Libya. For one thing, Gambians are unanimous in wanting peace and, secondly, Gambians don’t have the mad Islamic radicalism of Alqaeda and Islamic State that is tearing Libya apart today. And thirdly, The Gambia is within peaceful and democratic Senegal who are determined to protect Gambia’s new found Democracy.

The danger is in the short-term. I worry for the President-elect and his colleagues if Jammeh decides on Hara-Kiri and decides to take his enemies with him. But I am sure that Senegal and Western Diplomats in The Gambia are already making contingency plans for the security of their staff and citizens – and no doubt they will include the Transition Government of President-Elect Barrow.

Let us hope and pray that Jammeh will change his mind to break the stalemate, and/or the Gambia’s Armed Forces will step-in to ensure the Inauguration of the President-elect come January 19th 2017.



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