Gambia: ECOWAS Transition Monitoring Mission Should Be Part Of The Resolution Of The Upcoming Ecowas Summit On The Transition Crises In The Gambia

Date: 14 Dec 2016

Our Ref:

The Chairperson,

The Authorities of Head of States and Government,

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Abuja, Nigeria.

HURIDAC’S OPEN LETTER TO ECOWAS:

ECOWAS TRANSITION MONITORING MISSION SHOULD BE PART OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UPCOMING ECOWAS SUMMIT ON THE TRANSITION CRISES IN THE GAMBIA

HURIDAC is concerned about safety and security of all Gambians during this challenging transition of power created by President Yahya Jammeh.

HURIDAC monitored the Gambia Presidential election held of the 1 December 2016, while the election may be termed to be free, there are concerns that the election may not be fair, there are serious concerns about the violation of freedom of information during the election and the prevention of monitoring teams to observe the election.  The election depicts a major atmosphere of fear and apprehensions.

We reject the unconstitutional position of the outgoing president for rejecting the election results after he has earlier conceded defeat.  We also condemn the unlawful annulment of the election by the outgoing president and side with the Gambian Bar Association that such pronouncement is treasonable. We express concern about the move of the outgoing president to challenge the result of the election at the Supreme Court.  We are now worried because of lack of independence of the judiciary in The Gambia and because the government of President Jammeh has historical pattern of inhibiting the judiciary in carrying out their scared and constitutional duties.

We welcome the role of ECOWAS in mediating the impasse in the country, however it is crucial that the electoral decision of the Gambian people remains paramount in the negotiation.

We recognise the commitment of ECOWAS to its principle of Democracy and Good Governance, including zero tolerance to power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means.

We are concerned about the terrible human rights records of the present government, the lack of implementation of ECOWAS judgements and the 2008 Resolution of the African Commission on the Human Rights Situation in the Gambia.

We are also concerned about the security and safety of President-Elect Amadou Barrow, opposition leaders and Gambian people in general, as the government has failed to provide them protection. Soldiers have been seen on the streets, including taking over the premises of the Independent Electoral Commission.

We are encouraged by the determination of the coalition to assume power by the 19th  January 2017. But if the desperation of the outgoing president to cling to power is not properly managed the transition process may lead to fatal consequences and loss of lives. To prevent this, there is need for the activation of ECOWAS Protocol relating to the mechanism on Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peace Keeping and Security.

We hereby recommend that the upcoming ECOWAS SUMMIT should ensure:

  1. A fruitful transfer of power from the outgoing president to the president-elect by the 18th of January 2017
  2. The security and safety of all Gambians , especially the President-elect and opposition leaders
  3. That ECOWAS provides a Transition Monitoring team that will have both civilian and military personnel to monitor and finalise the transfer of power in The Gambia
  4. That the outgoing president ceases to be the president of Gambia by the 19th of January 2017
  5. An end to impunity, which is a major threat to democracy in some parts of West Africa

Yours Sincerely

Ayodele Ameen

Executive Director

Background Information on the Human Rights Advancement, Development, and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC)

HURIDAC is a non-governmental organization, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria.

HURIDAC is established in the recognition that human beings must enjoy freedom from fear and want. This implies that conditions must be created whereby everyone can enjoy his or her human rights. It also implies that the equal effective enjoyment of all human rights, without discrimination, underpin the primacy of law. Any society that is not founded on the rule of law will eventually find itself in a state of anarchy. Therefore, a system of basic freedoms, that afford protection against the abuse of power, that create space for the citizens to live in dignity, and where they can enjoy freedom to explore ways towards individual development and prosperity, is a fundamental foundation for any civilised society.

The organisation’s office is: 4 Akintoye Shogunle Street, Off John Olugbo Street, Off Obafemi Awolowo Way, P.O. Box 14037 Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

The Executive Director can be contacted via email: ameen@huridac.org, or by phone: +234 (0)810 803 7299. You may also contact: Capacity Building Director, Mr Shina Loremikan, email: loremikan@huridac.org, phone: +234 (0)803 323 5822; or Legal Director, Mr Kazeem Aminu, email: aminu@huridac.org, phone: +234 (0)802 302 5953.

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