Defeated candidate in the recent Gambian Presidential election, and also the current president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh have accused the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of declaring war on Gambia after they demanded he stepped down.
The regional bloc’s leaders have last month demanded he obey the people’s will and step down, after election results showed a shock win for opposition candidate, Adama Barrow in the elections.
Jammeh retorted in a New Year’s speech on Saturday night that the ECOWAS summit decision was “totally illegal” as it violated the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states.
“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution. It is therefore absolutely unacceptable,” said Jammeh.
“Let me make very clear that we are ready to defend the country against any aggression and there will be no compromise on this.”
President Jammeh have initially conceded defeat but changed his stance a week later, condemning “unacceptable errors” by election authorities and calling for a new election.
The Gambia’s top court said last month it was adjourning until January 10 a case filed by Jammeh to annul the vote results.
Jammeh’s stance has stoked international concerns about the future of the small west African country, with the UN joining African leaders in calling for him to allow Barrow to take the oath of office as scheduled on January 19.
But the 51-year-old strongman has remained defiant.
“Given the unjustifiable and unprecedented anomalies. What we are simply and rightfully asking for is to return to the polls and allow the Gambians to elect who they want to be their president in free and fair elections,” he said Saturday.