Jammeh finally agrees to step down
Longtime Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh has finally agreed to step down as the president of the West African country, paving way for the internationally recognised president Adama Barrow to take over the reins.
Barrow confirmed the development on Twitter, noting that Jammeh would go on exile. But he did not state where.
I would like to inform you that Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down. He is scheduled to depart Gambia today. #NewGambia
— Adama Barrow (@adama_barrow) January 20, 2017
Barrow was sworn in on Thursday at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal after Jammeh refused to recognise the result of the election that terminated his 22-year hold on power. He is now calling on Gambians fleeing the country to return home.
“The rule of fear has been banished from Gambia for good,” Barrow told a crowd gathered at a Dakar hotel on Friday. “To all of you forced by political circumstances to flee our country, you now have the liberty to return home.”
A regional military force launched an intervention effort, dubbed Operation Restore Democracy, shortly after the former opposition figure was sworn in.
“We think that up until the last minute there is still a solution through dialogue,” said Marcel de Souza, head of the ECOWAS commission, explaining the decision to suspend the advance to reporters in Dakar late on Thursday.
During his inauguration speech Barrow appealed to ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations for support for his government and Gambia’s people.
“This is a day no Gambian will ever forget,” Barrow said after taking the oath, which was administered by the president of Gambia’s bar association.
“Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world.”
Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, initially conceded defeat to Barrow following a Dec. 1 election before back-tracking, saying the vote was flawed.