United Nations warns Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh must leave power when term ends


16 December, 2016

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, along with the USA, also urged the Gambian security forces to leave the country's electoral commission office, which they seized on Tuesday.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who serves as the special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), said in Senegal's capital, Dakar, on Wednesday that Jammeh had a constitutional right to remain in office until January 19.

"For Mr Jammeh, the end is here and under no circumstances can he continue to be president", Mohammed Ibn Chambas told Reuters by telephone.

That same evening, Jammeh's party filed documents with the Supreme Court asking for the annulment of the December 1 elections, citing, among other things, irregularities by the IEC and intimidation of its supporters.

"It is a violation of the independent nature, guaranteed by the constitution, of the electoral commission, as some soldiers have taken away commission materials relating to the presidential election", the spokesman said.

"He calls on the Gambian military and security forces to immediately vacate the IEC premises".

Tuesday also saw Mr Jammeh's party challenge the election in the country's supreme court.

The chairman of the IEC, Alieu Momar Njie, dismissed Jammeh's legal challenge of the election result as unworkable due to a lack of judges on the Supreme Court.

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They must also state their commitment that when an incoming government assumes power they would be loyal to them, he said.

Lawyers continued a planned boycott of the court system Wednesday in protest at President Jammeh's legal fight.

The country's most influential lawyers' group, The Bar Association, has said any appointment of judges by Jammeh to decide on a case involving himself would be fundamentally unjust.

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said a deal was not something that could happen in a day and said a report of their discussions would be made on Saturday to a meeting of the West African grouping Ecowas.

The incumbent president, who has ruled the Gambia for more than 22 years, has said that he had previously accepted the electoral results "believing that the Independent Electoral Commission was independent and honest and reliable".

"We come to help Gambians find their way through a transition".

Meanwhile, the coalition of seven political parties that produced Adama Barrow, President-elect of The Gambia, has said that it looked earnestly to Nigeria's President Buhari to deploy his vast experience, alongside other African leaders, to resolve the political logjam in the small West African country.

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