Mahama leaves for ECOWAS meeting on Gambia’s political turmoil

Ghana’s former President, John Dramani Mahama has left Accra for Abuja to attend an ECOWAS meeting over the political turmoil in The Gambia.

Former President Dramani together with other West African leaders had earlier met President Yahya Jammeh who lost that country’s election and had asked him to quit.

Mr. Mahama has been asked to continue with mediation to convince Mr. Jammeh to vacate his post.

The decision to have former President Mahama to continue in his mediation role was taken during an ECOWAS meeting held on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of President Akufo-Addo.

The mediation talks to resolve the political crisis in the Gambia is led by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Akufo-Addo is reported to have conveyed the message to Mr. Mahama in a telephone conversation on Sunday.

Jammeh’s ruling party challenged his defeat in a Dec. 1 election at the Supreme Court on Tuesday as West African leaders failed to reach a deal that would see him accept the result and end a deepening political crisis.

Soldiers also seized the headquarters of the national elections commission and sealed it off just hours before the mediation delegation representing regional bloc ECOWAS touched down in the tiny riverside nation.

Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia since taking power in a 1994 coup and is accused of widespread rights abuses, initially conceded defeat to his main challenger, Adama Barrow. But in a dramatic about-face that drew international condemnation he then rejected the poll results.

The legal petition filed by the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction now raises the prospect that Barrow’s narrow victory, which was poised to end years of Jammeh’s autocratic rule, may be overturned.

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