The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediation meeting on the Gambian political logjam – earlier scheduled to take place in Banjul on Wednesday – has been pushed to Friday at the instance of President Yahya Jammeh.
“In accepting to postpone the visit earlier planned to take place on Wednesday, President (Muhammadu) Buhari, who is mediating alongside John Mahama, the immediate past president of Ghana, said the delay notwithstanding, the mandate of the ECOWAS will be accomplished,” according to a statement issued in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
The statement quoted the Nigerian leader as saying ECOWAS is committed to the resolution of the crisis through inclusive dialogue with respect to the constitution and the will of the people of Gambia.
“President Buhari reiterated the appeal on Monday by ECOWAS leaders that the Gambian leaders do everything they can to douse the tension in the West African country, which has led citizens to leave the country due to political uncertainty,” the statement added.
The decision to again meet Jammeh, following previous unsuccessful bid to resolve the crisis, was taken on Monday in Abuja following a meeting of ECOWAS leaders including Liberia’s Sirleaf Johnson, Senegal’s Mack Sall, former Ghanian president John Mahama and Nigeria’s Buhari.
The leaders have said they would try to resolve the crisis with diplomacy but said military option is also on the table.
Gambia was plunged into a crisis on Dec. 9 after Jammeh rejected the election results, a week after conceding defeat to Barrow, a little-known property developer.
Jammeh said the electoral process was tainted with “unacceptable irregularities” and ordered a fresh vote before filing a petition seeking to annul the results.