The Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS has vowed to undertake all necessary actions to enforce the December 1, 2016 election result in Gambia In a Communique issued in Abuja, Nigeria at its 50th Ordinary Session, the sub-regional body asked that President Yahya Jammeh reconsiders his decision to reject the results of the presidential election of December 1st, 2016 which had resulted in the election of Mr. Adama Barrow as the president-elect of The Gambia.
The region bloc called on Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect. ECOWAS leaders agreed to “undertake all necessary actions” to enforce the result of the election. Among the measures, they agreed to uphold the results of the December 1st 2016 election, guarantee the safety and protection of President-elect Barrow, attend his inauguration, which needs to take place by January 19, 2017 when the mandate of the incumbent president expires, called on the government and coalition parties to show restraint to preserve national unity and respect the will of the Gambian people as expressed in the election.
In addition, the sub-regional body has requested the African Union and the United Nations to endorse the decisions of the ECOWAS leaders on the situation and to support the ECOWAS mediation, which will be led by Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari and co-chaired by out-going Ghanaian President His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and conducted on the basis of terms agreed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.
On the situation in Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS leaders reaffirmed its deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis in that country due to the inability of political stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution. They noted that the crisis undermines the implementation of commitments made by development partners since March 2015, to support the economic and social reconstruction of the country.
The leaders urged the President of Guinea Bissau to comply with the provisions of the Conakry Accord and called on all parties to strictly respect and comply with the tenets of the Accord. They further commended the non-interference of the Army in the political crisis and strongly urged it to continue in like manner, though they reiterated the withdrawal of ECOMIB on June 30, 2017, directing the Commission to commence operations for the gradual withdrawal starting in the first quarter of 2017.
On the situation in Mali, ECOWAS leaders noted that in spite of progress made there, there are still challenges to the full and effective implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, including insecurity, lack of commitment by some armed group signatories to the Agreement and inadequate financial resources, despite pledges made by the international community.
They strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks on civilian populations, humanitarian workers, the Malian Defense and Security Forces, and MINUSMA, and reaffirmed its strong attachment to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mali. They reiterated support for the peace process and urged all stakeholders to comply with it.-Othello B. Garblah