Gambia Election Row: “Yahya Jammeh Should Step Down”…

Copyright: BBC World Service….

The Gambia’s opposition coalition has asked President Yahya Jammeh to step down immediately, after he challenged his defeat in the recent election.

Mr Jammeh initially accepted the result but then reversed his decision, saying he would annul the vote.

The UN Security Council met on Monday and urged him to meet international mediators who have been sent to the capital, Banjul

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power called the situation “dangerous“.

Ms Power said they had received reports that some military officers have sided with the incumbent president. “Power to take The Gambia to its peaceful destiny lies in President Jammeh’s hands,” she told reporters after the meeting.

The presidents of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana are expected to be among the delegation that will arrive in Banjul on Tuesday, along with the UN envoy for West Africa.

Mr Jammeh, who has ruled the country for 22 years, has questioned the validity of the count after the electoral commission changed some results, even though it insists the outcome was not affected.

“I think he should step down now,” said Adama Barrow, who was declared the election winner.

“He has lost the election, we don’t want to waste time, we want this country to start moving,” he told the AFP news agency.

President Jammeh went on national TV over the weekend to announce his “total rejection of the election result… thereby annulling the election”.

He said “we will go back to the polls because I want to make sure every Gambian has voted”.

What next for The Gambia? Analysis by the BBC’s Umaru Fofana

Mr Jammeh’s mandate ends on the 18 January but his party says it will file a petition to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court cannot make a decision as they do not have enough judges.

Two were sacked by the president in June and legal experts say he can’t appoint new judges for a case about himself.

With no Supreme Court to rule on the dispute, the next question is how the army could get involved. And that is not clear.

The head of the Gambian army, General Ousman Badjie, pledged his loyalty to President-elect Adama Barrow after the incumbent conceded.

But since Mr Jammeh went back on his words, the army appears to have gravitated back towards him.

Amid the possibility for instability, Gambia’s neighbours are getting involved.

Senegal, which surrounds The Gambia, called a UN Security Council meeting which condemned Mr Jammeh’s U-turn.

Senegalese fighter jets have been seen flying in the skies. It is not clear whether this is a coincidence or a warning to Mr Jammeh.