By Omar Bah
Halifa Sallah Spokeperson of the Coalition yesterday gathered journalists at the Kairaba Hotel to read a statement issued by the office of President-Elect Barrow, addressing issues on the current political climate.
The statement is partly reproduced here:
The Office of President-Elect Barrow wishes to convey the assurance of its highest esteem to ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama for demonstrating the political will to uphold the verdict of the Ghanaian people after losing the 7th December 2016 polls by handing-over executive power to President Nana Akufo Addo in a peaceful manner within the 30-day transition manner provided by the Ghanaian constitution.
This is the democratic culture of peaceful transfer of executive power that is been nurtured in the member states of ECOWAS. In contrast the peaceful transfer of executive in the Gambia which held its presidential elections on 1st December 2016 in which the term of president –elect should begin when the term of the outgoing president ends is still a subject of discussion by Gambians in particular and the international community at large.
The office of President-elect Barrow has made it absolutely clear that the excise of right to fight an election petition doesn’t deprive the winner the right to prepare for his/her inauguration. On 19 of January 2017 when the term of the incumbent would have expire it should be made abundantly clear it is needed in line of law no common-sense for a loser to have the right to abrogate or sustain the right of the victor until an election petition is heard.
The right of a victor to be sworn-in as a president and the duty of an incumbent to leave office when once term ends are not invalidated by filling an election petition.
The office of president-elect Barrow stands by the principles that Adama Barrow’s election as president of the republic of the Gambia stands and is calling on the general public for mobilization in preparation for the inauguration of the president-elect on the 19th of January. The status of an outcome of an election petition are unknown before the conclusion of any court process that should be regarded as a referent issue and it should not hamper any preparation of the president-elect.
The current efforts by the loser to use the court case as a tool to mobilise his supporters to give the impression that they have been cheated of victory is contributing to the fear that he is not ready for a peaceful transfer of power. This is why some countries are issuing travelling advice and some people are also relocating.
Therefore the ECOWAS authority has however clarified its position so that no one will claim that they are siding with anyone within the Gambia other than the Gambian people whose verdict must be respected.
We are emphasising and we want to be clear that ECOWAS stands for mediation hence it is important for all us as Gambians to come to terms with the realities in our own country and to understand that Gambians must not be at each other’s throat, but if they would be if power is taken and maintain on constitutional grounds, hence the office of president-elect Barrow is calling on ECOWAS to inform coming Nigerian president to uphold peaceful mediation towards resolving the impasse.
It is evident that the visits of the religious leaders, business community, traditional leaders, Ambassadors and NGOs to President-elect Barrow is clear indication that most Gambians want the incumbent to hand-over power peacefully.
The first duty of the incumbent to proof that he stands for peace is to tell the people that he would leave office when his term expires and would hand-over to the elected president when that comes. He should then act that he has filled a petition to court whose outcome and effect would be communicated to the public in due cause. This should have been followed by declaration by security chiefs of readiness to pay obedience to any civil authority that emerges out of the electoral process in the Gambia. Such messages would have gone down well with the Gambian people and the world.
The current mobilization of an uncertain court case is sending the wrong signal.
The office of president-elect Barrow is of the view that no-Gambian would have the moral authority to claim to love the Gambia by subjecting to her people to unrest while other nationals are safeguarding their own citizens from unrest. No single Gambian could violate the peace of the country and that all Gambians civil and military should stand for peace. Only the commitment each principle of one Gambia, one nation could ensure the peace of the country based on democracy and justice.
Our citizens have no other home to run to Gambia is their only home, leaders come and go but Gambia remains. The road to peace is clear the incumbent should recognize the fact that the president-elect should assume office whenever his term expires while persuading his court case as a private matter. He should also prepare all institutions and state agency acknowledge such a reality by paying in due regard to the concerns of the incoming administration, it is already judicial precedence to swear-in a president while an election petition is filled challenging the validity of an election.