Yahya Jammeh has labeled the Economic community of West African states (Ecowas) demand that he honour the results of the December 1 election and step down a declaration of war.
Ecowas leaders advised Jammeh that the regional group would “take all necessary action to enforce the results”. The leader of the group, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, along with the presidents of Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana met with Jammeh to convince him to reverse his decision to reject the results and to step aside peacefully.
In his new year’s message to the country, Jammeh rejected Ecowas’ demand, calling it “illegal” and a violation of the group’s principle not to interfere in the internal affairs of member states.
He went on to say that it was a declaration of war by the group and an insult to Gambia’s constitution. He continued,saying that “we are ready to defend the country against any aggression and there will be no compromise on this.”
Jammeh has been in power over Gambia for 22 years, after he seized power in a bloodless coup in 1994. He has ruled the tiny country with an iron fist, and added in his new year’s message that “Given the unjustifiable and unprecedented anomalies… what we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and allow the Gambians to elect who they want to be their president in free and fair elections.”