Ensuring a Peaceful Transition in The Gambia

The US Department of State issued the following statement on 9 December:us-ambassador

We strongly condemn President Jammeh’s December 9 statement rejecting the December 1 election results and calling for new elections. This action is a reprehensible and unacceptable breach of faith with the people of The Gambia and an egregious attempt to undermine a credible election process and remain in power illegitimately.

We call upon President Jammeh, who accepted the election results on December 2, to carry out an orderly transition of power to President-Elect Barrow in accordance with the Gambian constitution. We call upon all institutions in The Gambia, including the elected leadership, the armed forces, religious leaders, political parties and civil society organizations to reject violence and peacefully uphold the will of the people that was expressed clearly through the ballot box. The people have spoken and it is time for Gambians to come together to ensure a peaceful transition to President-elect Barrow.

Earlier, before the president declared his rejection of the election result, the US Embassy in The Gambia had issued the following statement on 9 December:

The United States Embassy in Banjul commends the security services of The Gambia for their steadfast devotion to duty during this time of transition to a new Presidential administration.  Soldiers have shown respect for the rule of law and the outcome of the presidential election, and we urge them to continue to honor those guiding principles.

The Gambian people have made a clear choice for change and a new start.  Even though only a week has passed since the announcement of the election results, we at the U.S. Embassy in Banjul feel a new sense of optimism on the streets.  Gambian people see the possibilities of the future under this new administration, and we look to the future with them. We admire the sentiments expressed in President-Elect Barrow’s address to the Gambian people and the United States stands ready to partner with the international community in moving Gambia forward toward a more free and prosperous future for all her citizens.

We commend Mr. Barrow’s sentiment that Gambia is one nation and one people.  As such, we admire his commitment to due process, and urge that his new government avoid recrimination and retaliation against current civil servants.

We agree with President-Elect Barrow that, “All of us want a post-election environment that is harassment and violence-free.”  We admire the calm and peaceful demeanor of the Gambian people, whose many ethnic groups have lived together as one family for centuries.

We urge the Gambian people to continue this peaceful tradition and avoid tribal divisions and unrest during this transitional period.