By Kebba Jeffang
At the press conference held at the UN House in Cape Point in Bakau on Saturday evening, 3rd December, 2016, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, special representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel assured continuous commitment from the global body in ensuring peaceful transfer of power from the outgoing president, Yahya Jammeh to the incoming president Adama Barrow.
He commended President Jammeh for the wise decision of conceding defeat to avoid a possible conflict while congratulating Barrow for the victory.
“During my visit today, I have been able to hold discussions with President-Elect Adama Barrow and representatives of the Gambian Opposition for Electoral Reform (GOFER) as well as those of the Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction (APRC), the CSO-Coalition on Election/Situation Room and members of the Diplomatic Corps. These interactions offered me the opportunity to discuss with various stakeholders the way forward following the declarations of the results of the just ended presidential election, which will cause The Gambia to experience for the first time an alternation of political power through peaceful democratic means,” he said.
Ibn Chambas urged the political parties to continue to have responsibility to defend not only the interests of their own party and supporters but also to safeguard the unity of the whole nation. He addressed the coalition government to be magnanimous in victory, to be moderate in their celebrations and to appeal to its cadres to eschew all acts of violence directed at APRC supporters. He added that it is expected of the state security institutions to play their roles by adhering to all the principles and practices of the civilian control of the armed forces in accordance with both national and international conventions.
“The United Nations reiterates its commitment to accompany the people of the Gambia in its uncharted first journey to peaceful transfer of political power through elections. What happened has ushered in a democratic alternation of political power and therefore the spirit and practice of democratic conduct should govern every consideration of all Gambian political stakeholders. Accordingly, I would insist that the way forward should be characterized by the ideal of national reconciliation, the quest for harmony and the respect for the rule of law in accordance with the Gambian Constitution and the international laws.”
He called for accountability but added that it should not be characterized by witch hunting. He said UN is ready to work with the incoming government to ensure development in the country.