After Tuesday’s multilateral meetings with Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that there is still no deal in place for Mr. Jammeh to step down.
Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf led a delegation consisting of representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and the United Nations that urged Mr. Jammeh, who lost the December 1, 2016 presidential election, to peacefully hand over power to Adama Barrow, who defeated the incumbent. The delegation also met with Mr. Barrow on Tuesday after concluding meetings with Mr. Jammeh.
Ibn Chambas, UN Special Representative for West Africa told the Gambian leader that if he does not step down by January 18, as stipulated in the country’s constitution, he would face heavy sanctions.
Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf said the delegation would continue to discuss the Gambian political crisis in Abuja on Saturday. Members of the seven-party opposition coalition that supported Mr. Barrow said they believed President Muhammadu Buhari’s experience as both a democratic president and former military officer would be useful in the negotiations with the Gambian leader.
“We need the experience of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria in many ways,” Hamad Bah told The Guardian. “Like President Jammeh, he is a former military officer, so he knows how the military thinks, and would be able to talk to him appropriately.”
It would be recalled that Mr. Jammeh conceded defeat after losing to Mr. Barrow, but changed his mind a week later, saying that he did not accept the outcome of the election.