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Jammeh sets ball rolling for peace mediation

Jan 12, 2017, 10:52 AM

President Yahya Jammeh has opened a new page for peace talks and internal dialogue among all parties and people in The Gambia.

The President, in a televised speech he gave over state-owned TV on Tuesday night, tasked his newly appointed Secretary General, Head of the Civil Service and Presidential Affairs minister to serve as Mediator General in overseeing the drive for a peaceful resolution of the current political situation the nation is grappling with.

The following is the statement the President delivered to the Nation in that respect:

There is no denying that our beloved nation is going through a challenging period and as believers, we should accept that God will test his servants now and then.

Since the December 1st 2016 elections and indeed even before and during the campaign, we all have been tested as a nation and we can thank the Almighty Allah, first and foremost and also our culture and traditions and faith, as a believing, tolerating and forgiving people that despite everything that has happened, we have maintained our peace, security and good relations.

As the President and a citizen, I am very grateful to all Gambians and especially the Gambian resident in the country, our security services and our religious leaders, the elders, women and the youths.

As the whole world knows, being the candidate for the APRC party for the Presidential Elections, my party and I, rejected the last results declared by the IEC on December 5th, 2016 because not only was it full of arithmetic errors and anomalies, it also could not be credibly explained and we have challenged the results at the Supreme Court as provided by the constitution and the Electoral Act.

Fellow Gambians, on December 2nd, 2016, the IEC announced a set of results which I accepted wholeheartedly in good faith but on December 5th, 2016, the IEC reversed and gave a new set of results and the result statement itself gave enough grounds for my Party and I to suspect them.

The second IEC results stated figures were transposed when actually it has the 63,909 votes for Basse Administrative Area, wrongly added to the vote of one candidate, which is Mr Adama Barrow.

In the so called correction, the statement from the IEC, falsely claims this amount was added to all candidates but the amount was only subtracted from Mr Barrow, which took his total to just over 199,000 and then his vote for Basse was doubly counted to give him the lead with 223,000 votes.

Fellow Gambians, nonetheless as our Constitution provides, only the Supreme Court can review our challenge and only the Supreme Court can declare anyone President and so I ask each and everyone of us to respect the Supreme Law of the Republic and await the Supreme Court Review and Ruling on the Election Results.

Our constitution is the Supreme Law and does not allow any organization or law or treaty to supersede it as per section 4 (Supremacy of the constitution); and section 79 (2) that the constitution does not allow us to enter into any engagement, agreement or treaty that derogates the supremacy of the constitution.

As the President, Commander-in-Chief of our Armed and Security Forces and as a citizen, and in total obedience to my oath of office, I will take all possible steps to defend our constitution as per section 6 (2), which make it the duty of all citizens to defend our constitution.

Therefore, even where we may disagree, I believe we can as Gambians, come together and resolve this and any matter, without undue external interference.

Fellow Gambians, cabinet sat and will continue to sit and liaise with the National Assembly to take all constitutional measures, to ensure the supremacy of the rule of law and the constitution in the next days.

I assure everyone that as a Gambian, a Muslim and a family man, no foreigner can love this country and hold its highest interest to heart more than myself and the majority of Gambians.

So I will also be taking all possible steps within the constitution and my conscience to do my part to resolve this sad impasse.

As we are all human and bound to make mistakes and only Allah SWT does not make mistakes, we therefore accept this as a test by God on our faith individually and collectively, as believing people.

I hereby appoint the Secretary General as Mediator General for this trying period and mandate him to:

1.         Ensure the public and civil service continue to work proficiently and without fear or favor in an apolitical manner in the service of the nation.

2.         Meet with all stakeholders in the country and prepare a meeting so that all parties can be heard and we resolve any mistrust and issues among ourselves.

3.         Work with the Minister of Justice and the National Assembly to draft a general amnesty bill to confirm and ensure that there is no witch-hunt so that we can restore a climate of confidence and security within constitutional mandate.

In this connection, I hereby issue an executive order to that effect that nobody be arrested or prosecuted due to acts or omissions in the pre- and post-electoral period with effective dates of November 1st 2016 and January 31st 2017.

Fellow Gambians, as the whole world has seen, we continue as a people to exhibit the highest degree of fraternity and despite the heated passions, we have maintained to the highest degree the virtues of patience, tolerance and mutual respect across ethnic and faith lines and for that I personally thank God and all of you.

I ask all Gambians to forgive each other especially us the political class and ask that we all continue to work together to keep and consolidate peace and harmony.

I ask all Gambians and all residents in The Gambia to go about their business in peace and security and assure you that, Inshaa Allah, all will be well and this will soon be resolved in peace.

I thank all my brother and sister presidents from ECOWAS, the OIC, AU and the UN for their kind words and support to The Gambia, even if some were mistaken and also assure them that, we Gambians have not gotten here without learning to live and let live among ourselves.

I thank you all for you attention and bid you all the peace and blessings of Allah SWT.

To the Gambia ever true!

Assalam alaikum wa rahmatulah wa barakatuhou.