African News

Gambia: Yayah Jammeh wants protection

13 December 2016 at 22:16 | 2412 views

By PV Staff Writers

Very reliable sources in Banjul, capital of the tiny West African state of Gambia indicate that outgoing president Yayah Jammeh has asked for immunity from prosecution if he hands over to president-elect Adama Barrow in January 2017.

Jammeh was defeated by Barrow in elections held December 1; he subsequently conceded defeat and called Barrow to congratulate him on state television. A video clip of that telephone conversation quickly went viral on social media.

But a few days later Jammeh announced that the election results were invalid implying he is no longer handing over. That is why four West African leaders led by Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and including Buhari of Nigeria, Koroma of Sierra Leone and Mahama of Ghana are in Banjul to plead with him to quit in January.

Our sources say Jammeh has been rattled by calls from within and outside the country to have him prosecuted and possibly jailed for alleged crimes he committed during his 22 years as Gambian leader. He also fears being handed over to the International Criminal Court whose president is a Gambian. Gambia has withdrawn from the ICC.

Barrow, fearing for his safety, frantically called for help from the international community when Jammeh announced his refusal to leave. He also said he will not have Jammeh prosecuted or return the country to the ICC but Jammeh does not seem to believe him.

It’s not clear whether the West African leaders have promised Jammeh immunity from prosecution or whether they have the mandate to do so.

Perhaps another public statement from Adama Barrow supported by the leaders of Gambia’s opposition parties, the Gambia Bar Association, the Chief Justice of the Gambia and other stakeholders promising Jammeh immunity would ease his fears and he might just possibly hand over in January, or risk a disastrous future after January 20 2017 (the day he is supposed to hand over the Gambia to Barrow).

A frightened and jittery Adama Barrow (in blue African shirt) in a meeting with four West African leaders in Banjul Tuesday.

Jammeh (in white) receiving West African leaders in Banjul.

Photo credit: President Muhammadu Buhari’s press unit.