United States Statement on the Political Situation in The Gambia
December 14, 2016.
We strongly urge the Gambian security forces that entered the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission yesterday morning to withdraw, and not to threaten or intimidate members of the IEC. This unnecessary and unprovoked show of force is seen as a move to subvert the democratic process in The Gambia, which has already been damaged by the refusal of outgoing President Jammeh to prepare for a lawful transition to President-elect Barrow.
We applaud the ECOWAS delegation for meeting with outgoing President Jammeh and urge him to respect the will of the Gambian people and accept the results of the December 1 election. The delegation, led by the current chair of ECOWAS, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, included President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and outgoing Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.
Although it is too soon to determine how President Jammeh will respond to the delegation’s appeals, we call on him to listen to the messages delivered by the distinguished members of the delegation.
As we have said before, the United States strongly condemns outgoing President Jammeh’s December 9 statement rejecting the December 1 election results and calling for new elections. This action is an attempt to rewrite the results after he accepted them and pledged to respect the will of the people on December 2.
The United States also condemns the announcement by Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party that they will challenge the election before the Supreme Court as we do not believe it will be heard by a credible court dedicated to ensuring the integrity of The Gambia’s democratic process.
We agree with President-elect Barrow that, “All of us want a post-election environment that is harassment and violence-free.” We admire the calm and peaceful demeanor of the Gambian people, whose many ethnic groups have lived together as one family for centuries.
We will continue to monitor the situation and urge all sides to remain calm and refrain from violence. We welcome statements from the African Union, U.N. Security Council, and countless others who have condemned Jammeh’s attempt to remain in power illegitimately. We, in collaboration with our international partners, are evaluating a range of options for responding to the situation to ensure that the will of the Gambian people is respected and to hold accountable anyone who would resort to violence to quell peaceful political dissent.