Gambia’s Jammeh Agrees to Step Down

Gambia’s Jammeh  Agrees to Step DownGambia’s Jammeh  Agrees to Step Down

Gambian Leader Yahya Jammeh said on Saturday he would step down to keep peace in his country after 22 years in power, following last-chance talks with West African leaders before a military intervention.

Jammeh spent hours with Guinea and Mauritania’s presidents on Friday in Banjul where agreement was reached that he would hand power to Adama Barrow, the declared winner of elections last month, AFP reported.

“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians,” Jammeh said in a statement broadcast on state television.

The leader declared his decision to leave office—after weeks of stalling through threats and legal action—was his alone, despite immense pressure from the international community.

However, agreement was not reached on where he would spend his life after his presidency.

His actions will be carefully monitored in the hours and days after the declaration, as he has said once before he would step down and recognize Barrow as the winner, just after the election.

Troops from five African nations are stationed on the tiny West African nation’s borders in the event Jammeh does not keep his word.

Isatou Touray, a top official in Barrow’s coalition, told AFP there was “no deal yet” late on Friday,

Barrow, who was sworn in at Gambia’s Embassy in Dakar on Thursday, will take over from Jammeh as soon as his safety can be guaranteed.

A Banjul-based diplomatic source told AFP the final deal would be “a joint statement between Barrow and Jammeh,” but cautioned the mercurial strongman could “quite easily” change his mind.

That source spoke of a three-day grace period for Jammeh with foreign troops on standby until he definitively quits the country.

Caption: Supporters of elected Gambian President Adama Barrow have taken to the streets of neighboring Senegal to endorse his leadership.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints