International Intervention Begins on The Gambia
The first wave of predictable international pressure is mounting on Yahya Jammeh, out – going president of The Gambia to hand over power rather than challenge the results of a presidential poll he had welcomed and conceded defeat. The UN, African Union and ECOWAS have all specifically called on him to reverse himself on the rejection of the results of the poll and facilitate a successful transition as planned. The UN expressed support for the stance taken by Senegal, The Gambia’s nieghbour which has categorically rejected any attempt to abort the constitutional processes about the transition and gone as far as call for an emergency session of the UN on The Gambia. All three players are asking civil society organisations, the armed forces, politicians and political parties to ensure that the will of the people prevail and the security of the president-elect guaranteed.
The implication of the consensus between the UN, AU and ECOWAS for Jammeh is that game might be up for him because, with the mobilisation of domestic players such as the political leaders, armed forces and civil society, the interventionist pressures will have an upper hand in any test of strength and Jammeh might find himself in The Hague. Performance in office, flirtations with strange travellers in the power game and a rather slim record in democratic governance renders him vulnerable. He might have fended off the transition only if he were able to stall the election from being held. His new strategy of challenging the results of the election after having conceded defeat instead of making peace with his impending successor suggests the beginning of his journey to being held to account. Although The Gambia is not populous, a country such as Nigeria must be watching this development carefully in the light of past experience of escalation in access to guns that every such internal crisis brings about across the sub-region.