Ethiopia: AU tells Jammeh to hand over power to Gambian President-elect Barrow

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Gambia's outgoing President Yahya Jammeh will cease to be recognized by the African Union (AU) as legitimate President of the West African republic as of 19 January 2017, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU declared Friday.

Also, the Council solemnly declared "the inviolable nature of the outcome of the presidential election held on 1 December 2016 in The Gambia."

The Council emphasized that Jammeh must respect the Constitution of the Gambia, the ECOWAS and AU instruments, in particular the AU Constitutive Act and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, by handing over power to President-elect Adama Barrow on 19 January 2017, as stated in the Constitution and as decided by the people of the country.

In this respect, the Council strongly reaffirmed at its 647th meeting the AU’s zero tolerance policy with regard to coup d’état and unconstitutional changes of government in Africa;

In a statement issued by the Council at the end of its session on the post-election situation in Gambia, the PSC warned President Jammeh "of serious consequences in the event that his action causes any crisis that could lead to political disorder, humanitarian and human rights disaster, including loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties."

It stressed the need for Jammeh and his Government to refrain from any action that could undermine the process leading up to the swearing in of President-elect Adama Barrow on 19 January 2017.  

At the same time, the PSC reiterated its call to the Gambian stakeholders, including the defence and security forces, to exercise utmost restraint and to strictly abide by the Constitution and uphold the rule of law, including the respect for the freedom of speech.

"Council stresses the duty and obligation of the defence and security forces to place themselves at the disposal of the democratically elected authorities of their country," read the statement.

The PSC has commended the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) for its principled stand with regard to the situation in The Gambia, and reaffirmed its full support to the decisions adopted by the 50th Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority in Abuja, Nigeria, on 17 December 2016, "including the consideration to use all necessary means to ensure the respect of the will of the people of The Gambia."

In this respect, the PSC paid tribute to the leadership and commitment demonstrated by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, who is Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority, as well as to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria as ECOWAS Mediator, and to former President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana as co-Mediator, for their continued efforts to ensure a peaceful and smooth transfer of power in Gambia.
-0- PANA AR 13Jan2017

13 january 2017 16:37:41

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