One step at a time

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We are yet to clearly know the details of the full discussion in the ECOWAS talks or mediation in the political impasse in Gambia, involving the outgoing president and the president-elect of the coalition, which took place in Banjul on Tuesday.

Although nothing really was disclosed to the media in the country, the fact remains that the outgoing president is still in office and we have not known whether he had reversed his decision of 9th December 2016 rejecting the outcome of the December 1 presidential election and calling for a fresh election.

While the impasse continues, the transition period is considered to be in progress by the coalition members. This is because, going by the time the Presidential election was held, the Constitution of The Gambia permits the present government and leader to be in office until the third week of January this year, when power is to be handed over to the democratically-elected president Adama Barrow, after the declaration of the election of a new president on 2 December.

But since the incumbent president is yet to reverse his decision of annulling the 1st December polls, a political impasse is essentially the situation we are being confronted with.

However, the ECOWAS mediation continues after the presidents of the four-nation delegation and a UN-Africa rep, who were in Gambia for the talks, have heard both sides on the issue.

Since we are as a nation would really want this situation to be resolved amicably, we can say the ECOWAS Banjul talks on Tuesday was a step in the right direction. And as we were informed, the next meeting of the heads of state on the impasse will take place on 17 December this year in Abuja, Nigeria.

We, therefore, expect a positive outcome from that meeting, since anything of a disagreement would serve as recipe for more problems for our nation.

The situation that would befall us as a people will be just as the coalition spokesperson put it: that there “will be a constitutional crisis and a likely conflict in the country” if the transition ends and the outgoing president says he would not go.

We really hope and pray that this will not be the case; that our nation will be saved the trouble of having a costly conflict.

Meanwhile, the Ecowas chairperson also inferred in Banjul that they are yet to convince the outgoing president to step down, when the transition period ends in January.

“It is not something that can  happen in one day.  It is something that we have to work on.”

This means we should be prepared for a resolution of the current crisis to move one step at a time.

“I like restraint, if it doesn’t go too far.”

Mae West