The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared a 90-day state of emergency a day before his official mandate ends.He decried “extraordinary” foreign interference in his country’s affairs and December’s election.
Regional leaders have been unsuccessfully trying to persuade Mr Jammeh to hand over power to Adama Barrow, who won the polls.The move comes after Nigeria deployed a warship to put further pressure on Mr Jammeh to step down. In his televised announcement, Mr Jammeh said “any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace” are banned under the state of emergency.
He said security forces were instructed to “maintain absolute peace, law and order”.
This latest development comes as regional forces prepare to remove the veteran leader unless accepts defeat and steps down by Thursday, 19th of January.President Yahya Jammeh is presently refusing to step down until the supreme court can hear his challenge in May.
Jammeh, who came to power through a coup since 1994, is said to have become isolated at home and abroad after he refused to concede defeat at the December 1 election to opposition leader Adama Barrow.
Meanwhile, the loss which came as a surprise was regarded as a boost for democracy in the former British colony, which has had only two presidents since it got its independence in 1965.
Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to leave office has thrown the West African country into chaos.
Asides members of Jammeh’s cabinet defecting, several Gambians have fled abroad, fearing violence.
According to Reuters, a senior Nigerian military source said Nigeria and other West African nations were prepared to intervene militarily to oust the 51 year old leader, if he remains in office after Wednesday, when his presidential mandate runs out.
The source who chose anonymity said, “The chiefs of defense staff of West African countries met yesterday (Monday) to discuss strategies on the best way to get Yahya Jammeh out if he refuses to hand over power.”
“Some West African countries will be contributing troops, including Nigeria, for the operation,” said the source, who also added that the United Nations and African Union had offered support to regional body ECOWAS for the plan.
The Gambian state television had reported late on Monday that Finance Minister Abdou Kolley was being replaced by Benjamin Roberts, the Minister of Tourism. However, finance ministry sources said yesterday that Roberts had also resigned.
Ministry sources said other government figures, including Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, had left the government and the country. According to sources at the city council, the mayor of the capital Banjul has also resigned.
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