By KABS KANU :
Wary of war after the devastating consequences of brutal conflicts seen in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic , Democratic Congo etc, Africans are holding their breath and praying as the time bomb in the Gambia continues to tick due to the impasse that now has two presidents , so to speak, presiding over one small country.
ECOWAS has given former President Yaya Jammeh , who is refusing to relinquish power after losing the Presidential elections last December to President Adama Barrow, until midday today to step down or face military action from its multinational military force that has already entered the country. Barrow was inducted into office yesterday in Senegal and is now officially the Head of State of the Gambia.
But Yaya Jammeh is still holding on to power and made TV broadcasts yesterday .He remained defiant even after his cabinet ministers have all resigned and some government officials have all deserted him. He announced that he will be naming a new cabinet today. “They are right now on state TV claiming that they in control and that news about Barrow’s inauguration was all rumours, ” a source told COCORIOKO .
Yesterday, the UN Security Council supported a resolution drafted by Senegal on the Gambian crisis and asked Jammeh to “carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process, and to transfer power” to President Barrow. The UN expressed “its full support to the ECOWAS in its commitment to ensure, by political means first, the respect of the will of the people.”
But according to Russia and Egypt, the resolution calls for peaceful means to resolve the standoff and that it does not invoke chapter 7 of the UN charter, which provides for the use of force. We hope this is fully understood by ECOMIG, the interventionist force that ECOWAS wants to use to oust Jammeh, if he still refuses to step down.
Every effort must be pursued to ensure a peaceful resolution of the impasse, as also being hope by African people tired of war.
However, the onus is on ex-President Jammeh to avoid a violent end to the present impasse. In the supreme interest of the Gambian people, he must cede power to the legitimately elected President Barrow, instead of continuing to stick to his guns and in the process provoke a confrontation between the ECOMIG Force and his army, some of whom are still loyal to him, despite assurances from the military chief that the Gambia Army will not interfere in the crisis.
A violent resolution is being opposed across the broad spectrum of the diplomatic community as well as by wary Gambians and Africans because of the potential that force will lead to valuable loss of lives , socio-economic and political destruction of the country and another African refugee and humanitarian crisis (Which the continent can ill-afford ).