The President of the Republic of Liberia and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed deep concern about current developments in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia. Referring to the call for new elections by President Jammeh on grounds of alleged abnormalities in the electoral process, The ECOWAS Chair said that this reversal of position by President Jammeh was unacceptable and threatened peace not only in the Gambia but the entire West African Sub-region.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf insisted that the will of the Gambian people, freely expressed in exercise of their franchise, must be respected by all without precondition. This includes President Jammeh and officials of his government. The ECOWAS Chairperson supports the joint statement issued by the African Union, ECOWAS and the United Nations, noting that it leaves no doubt that the reversal in the position of President Jammeh is totally unacceptable.
In this twenty-first century, President Sirleaf continued, leaders have no room for selectivity – to accept only outcomes which give a mandate to lead and deny a result which withdraws that mandate, especially when election procedures and modalities are similarly applied. “Our common commitment to the precepts in the Charters and Treaties of these regional, continental and global institutions are binding and prescribe consequences for non-compliance,” President Sirleaf emphasized.
The ECOWAS Chairperson concluded with a plea to President Jammeh to do the right thing and take actions to facilitate a smooth and peaceful transition in The Gambia, respecting the election results, which reflect the freely expressed will of the Gambian people. She noted that the Gambian President’s initial and principled position of acceptance of these results have already been lauded by all in the global community, including herself, as the mark of enlightened leadership and patriotism.
President Sirleaf made a similar appeal to President-elect Barrow and members of the opposition to exercise restraint, underscoring that they too have a responsibility to act maturely in the interest of preserving peace and calm in their country. She also call on the people of The Gambia to remain calm and peaceful.
Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has sent a special message to President Jammeh of The Gambia to accept the elections result.