National Assembly commends ECOWAS’ Peace Efforts

By Suwaibou Touray & MUHAMMED S BAH

In an extraordinary session of the Gambia National Assembly yesterday afternoon January 16th 2017, the Gambia National Assembly adopted a resolution commending and appreciating the good efforts of the Authority of Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS, to peacefully settle the post –election impasse in the country.

The Resolution is moved by Mr Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the majority leader of the Gambia National Assembly.

The Resolution is to be transmitted through the usual diplomatic channels to the President of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government, Secretary General of the United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of the AU Commission, Speaker of the Pan African Parliament, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Speakers of the National Assembly of the Republic of Senegal, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia.

Mr Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the majority leader in moving the motion agreed that the Independent Electoral Commission of the Gambia, (IEC) is the statutory body mandated to announce the results and declare the winner of Presidential election.

He however said they must allow the courts to determine the validity or otherwise of the results since there is a petition from one contestant.

“We recognise and uphold the Constitutional rights of the ruling APRC party to contest the December 1st Presidential results within 10 days after the election and we commend the armed Forces for their commitment and neutrality and professionalism in this situation,” emphasised Majority leader Fabakary Jatta.

Mr Jatta in moving the motion also called on ECOWAS to refrain from any action that would jeopardize the situation and facilitate the sending of judges to expedite the matter, while stressing the non aggression and interference in the affairs of member states.

Jatta also condemns the government of Senegal for the role displayed at the UN against what he called the sovereignty, Independence and good neighbourliness of the two countries.

“I call on all members to adopt the resolution,” said  Fabakary Jatta, Majority leader.

In seconding the Motion, Hon Abdoulie Saine, also reiterated the need for ECOWAS to facilitate the provision of Judges for the Supreme Court to resolve the matter through the court.

Hon. Saine also pointed out that IEC is the supreme cause of the political turmoil currently ongoing.

Hon. Neti Baldeh member of Tumana on his part called on Gambians to peacefully and patiently wait for the decision of the Supreme Court to ensure peace and stability of the country.

Similar comments were made by other National Assembly members

Minority leader Samba Jallow also commended the ECOWAS efforts but opined that ECOWAS alone cannot solve the impasse; that ECOWAS leaders came twice but the impasse is still not resolved. ”There must be dialogue between the Outgoing President and the Incoming one,” said Jallow.

He asked whether we should plunge the Gambia into a crisis only because of a human error; that it is an irony that they could not solve the problem but to resort to ECOWAS. “If we take a stance it will be solved but if we as representatives keep silent it will not be solved and we will not be representing our people, argued Minority leader Jallow.

The Minority leader who said he hates seeing Gambia children becoming refugees in neighbouring countries proposed the setting up of a Parliamentary Committee that would talk to both sides and mediate to resolve the matter.

Hon. Jallow however warned that the Incoming President is preparing for inauguration and no one can stop them. He blamed the sitting government for the lack of judges at the Supreme court.

“I blame the sitting government for the cause of this internal conflict for wanting to use power and forcing your people to go to exile,” said Minority leader Samba Baldeh,.

While noting that, there is need to resolve this problem before on the 19th January to avoid conflict and problems, he said that People are showing readiness and commitment to go for the inauguration.

In his intervention Hon. Modou Bamba Gaye member for Lower Saloum, said the National Assembly members should call for a peaceful transfer of power from the Outgoing President to the incoming President.

Hon. Bamba recalled that in 2011 elections, when the UDP and GMC filed a petition in court about the irregularities in the elections that did not stop the inauguration of President Jammeh.

“I think is the same petition filed by the APRC to the Supreme Court, so why should that stop the inauguration of Adama Barrow” He asked.

As the debate unfolded, members eventually resolved to adopt the Resolution to send to ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government, Secretary General of the United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of the AU Commission, etc.