The United States has warned the embattled Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, saying he is losing opportunities to peacefully handover to President-elect Adama Barrow and avoid the consequences of his actions.
Jammeh’s tenure ends Jan. 19, the same day that Barrow is expected to be sworn-in as his successor.
Both the African Union and ECOWAS have said that Jammeh will cease to be recognised as Gambian President from the date.
Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Mr John Kirby, said at a press briefing on Tuesday that Jammeh was putting his legacy and The Gambia in peril.
“President Jammeh is losing opportunities to respect the will of the Gambian people and to peacefully hand over power to the president-elect, which is supposed to happen on Thursday.
“Doing so would allow him to leave office with his head held high and to protect the Gambian people from potential chaos.
“Failure to do so will put his legacy – and, more importantly, the Gambia – in peril, and we have been clear about this,” he said.
According to him, the accusation by Jammeh of external interference in The Gambia’s internal affairs is not tenable.
“I don’t know what interference he’s referring to, but we obviously want to see The Gambia succeed.
“And we want to see the president-elect properly installed and to have in place a government, which is responsible for and responsive to the needs of the Gambian people.”
The U.S. had on Friday, indicated support for ECOWAS to take all necessary action on Jammeh if he fails to handover to Barrow.
The U.S. had regretted that Jammeh’s action had made the situation in The Gambia to become “very uncertain”.
“We call on President Jammeh to listen to his own people, to listen to the Gambian people who have clearly called on him to accept the results of the Dec. 1 election.
“And to again agree to what he already agreed to, which is a peaceful handover of power to President-elect Barrow.”
However, despite the warning by the US, Gambia’s parliament has extended Yahya Jammeh’s term, which is due to end on today, Thursday January 18 following his defeat in elections, by 90 days.
It also approved his decision to declare a 90-day state of emergency in the tiny West African state. Meanwhile thousands of UK and Dutch tourists are being evacuated from The Gambia. The country is popular with European holidaymakers because of its beaches.