The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) joins the unanimous calls from the international community demanding the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in The Gambia. The AGJA expresses its deep concern and disapproval at attempts by outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to undermine stability in the country by demanding that the recent results of the presidential elections be overturned. The AGJA further welcomes all domestic, regional, and international efforts to support President-elect Adama Barrow and ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power.
Presidential elections were held in The Gambia on 1 December 2016. The results of the election gave President-elect Barrow a clear victory. Following the election, Mr. Jammeh announced that he would concede the presidency, which he has held for the last 22 years. However, Mr. Jammeh subsequently declared that he would no longer respect the election results and filed a petition with the Supreme Court to challenge the vote, throwing the country into uncertainty. In response, Gambians signalled their disapproval of Jammeh’s actions en masse, unifying around the democratic process in the country.
Mr. Jammeh’s decision has also been met with severe criticism by African states, regional organisations including ECOWAS, the United Nations Security Council, and other members of the international community. On 17 December, ECOWAS declared that it unequivocally supported the results of the presidential elections in The Gambia. ECOWAS further agreed that it would “take all necessary actions to enforce the results” of the elections and nominated a mediation committee, led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
The AGJA stated: “Any subversion of the democratic will of the Gambian people by Mr. Jammeh is unacceptable and must be emphatically rejected. Mr. Jammeh’s first decision — to respect the outcome of the election — was the right one.”
The Africa Group added: “The AGJA stands in solidarity with the brave citizens of The Gambia in defending democracy and rule of law. All efforts to restore and protect The Gambia’s democracy and rule of law must be supported. The AGJA joins the people of The Gambia in expressing its appreciation of the show of unity and purpose from ECOWAS. It is the AGJA’s hope that ongoing mediation to resolve this crisis through peaceful means will be successful. Reflecting its ongoing and unyielding commitment to peace, justice and accountability in Africa, the AGJA stands ready to support these efforts.”
In line with its Kilimanjaro Principles for Justice and Accountability, the AGJA continues to offer its expertise, mediation and facilitation to all African states, regional organisations, and other relevant actors.