Gambia: I won’t quit as president, Jammeh insists

Gambian President Jammeh sits in his office during a news conference in Banjul…Gambian President Yahya Jammeh sits in his office during a news conference in Banjul, after election results announced him the winner of presidential polls, September 23, 2006. Tens of thousands of people crammed onto Gambia’s tiny island capital Banjul on Saturday as Jammeh threw a massive beach party to celebrate his re-election for a third term.

President Yahya Jammeh on Thursday in Banjul reiterated his stand that he would not step down as Gambian leader when his mandate ends on Wednesday.

The information ministry said in a statement read on national television that Mr. Jammeh was planning to remain in office until the Supreme Court decides on a petition he filed.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Jammeh is challenging the result of the December 1 presidential election he lost to Adama Barrow.

Mr. Barrow, a former real estate agent who was little known before he announced his candidacy, meanwhile has also reiterated he is planning to take office on January 19, as scheduled.

Earlier this week, Gambia’s dysfunctional Supreme Court adjourned hearing Mr. Jammeh’s petition to Monday, since only one of a required minimum of five judges were present.

Experts however believe it will be highly unlikely that four additional judges will be present on Monday.

This is because the Supreme Court has not been operational since Mr. Jammeh fired several of the court’s judges in mid-2016.

All other eligible Court of Appeal judges left the country after the December election.

Observers fear that delays to the planned handover of power could lead to violence as Gambia has been in a political lockdown since Mr. Jammeh refused to accept the result.

Meanwhile, some West African leaders, including Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, are expected to arrive in Gambia to convince Mr. Jammeh to respect the constitution and hand over the presidency.

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