Gambia tops ECOWAS meeting

Adoba Echono, Abuja

The African leaders appealed to President Yahya Jammeh to reconsider his rejection of the election results and his call for new elections.

The political crisis in Gambia will top the agenda of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Nigeria on Saturday, December 17, 2016.

Few days ago, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who is also the current Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President Muhammadu Buhari, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra-Leone and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama were in The Gambia.

The leaders were in the Gambia to convince the incumbent President, Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled the country for 22 years, to relinquish power after losing an election this month and hand over power to the winner of the election, Adama Barrow.

President Sirleaf on her visit to Nigeria recently announced that the leaders of the region would also address the situation in Guinea Bissau at the summit.

The ECOWAS chairperson had described the situation in Guinea Bissau as “very complicated, it is pertinent to choose a leader that reflected the will of the people.”

In April 2012, the military staged a coup d’état in that country and military leaders and a coalition of political parties announced the formation of a Transitional National Council, under international pressure.

Guinea-Bissau has also been in a political impasse since August 2015, when President José Mario Vaz sacked then Prime Minister, Domingos Simoes Pereira, leader of the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde.

President Vaz also dissolved the government on November 12 in an attempt to solve a political succession crisis.

A delegation from ECOWAS had demanded that President Vaz name a new prime minister and deal with dissenting deputies with the aim of resuming parliament’s normal functions.

The summit is also expected to consider the report of the 77th Ordinary Season of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the 37th session of the Mediation and Security Council.

It would also consider the 2016 Annual Report of the President of the commission and discuss the regions strategy for elections to African union positions.