Gambian President Yahya Jammeh could be “strongly sanctioned” if he refuses to step down when his tenure ends, the United Nations Special Representative for West Africa stated on Wednesday.
Mr. Jammeh, who has served as president of the Gambia since 1994, lost the December 1, 2016 presidential election to businessman Adama Barrow and conceded defeat the following day. But a week later, Mr. Jammeh reversed course, saying that he did not accept the results of the election and would challenge the outcome at the Supreme Court.
The international community is now urging Mr. Jammeh to peacefully transfer power to Mr. Barrow, with the UN Special Representative to West Africa, Ibn Chambas, threatening sanctions against the Gambian despot if he refuses to step down by January 18.
“For Mr. Jammeh, the end is here, and under no circumstances can he continue to be president,” Mr. Chambas disclosed to Reuters.
“The Supreme Court decision has nothing to do with the five-year mandate,” he added.
Mr. Chambas’ statement came a day after an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation, comprising of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf among others, visited the Gambian capital of Banjul to urge Mr. Jammeh to step down and hand over power to Mr. Barrow.