Only court can de­clare pres­i­dent, Jam­meh in­sists

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - World News - — AP.

DAKAR. — Gam­bia’s out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Yahya Jam­meh is crit­i­cis­ing for­eign pres­sure for him to step down and call­ing on Gam­bians to wait for a Supreme Court de­ci­sion to de­ter­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of the De­cem­ber 1 elec­tions that he lost.

On Tues­day, thou­sands of sup­port­ers of Jam­meh’s Al­liance for Pa­tri­otic Re­ori­en­ta­tion and Con­struc­tion gath­ered around a Supreme Court hear­ing, push­ing for the an­nul­ment of the elec­tion out­come.

The Supreme Court, with only one sit­ting mem­ber, ad­journed un­til next Mon­day but said it likely can­not hear the pe­ti­tion filed by the party un­til May, when the Nige­rian and Sierra Leo­nen judges ap­pointed by Jam­meh are avail­able.

The de­lay cre­ates un­cer­tainty that many fear could turn to vi­o­lence.

Jam­meh at first con­ceded de­feat to op­po­si­tion coali­tion can­di­date Adama Bar­row but later called for a new vote, say­ing the De­cem­ber 1 elec­tions had ir­reg- ular­i­ties.

The coali­tion has said it plans to move for­ward with Bar­row’s in­au­gu­ra­tion next week on Jan­uary 19, at the end of Jam­meh’s man­date, and the United Na­tions, Euro­pean Union and West African bloc have called on Jam­meh to re­spect the elec­tion and step down from power.

“Only the Supreme Court can de­clare any­one a pres­i­dent. So I ask any­one of us to re­spect the supreme law of the repub­lic and await the Supreme Court re­view on the elec­tion re­sult,” said Jam­meh in a late Tues­day ad­dress on state-run TV.

The in­cum­bent crit­i­cised in­ter­fer­ence from other coun­tries, in­clud­ing those of the Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity of West African States (Ecowas), which to­day will send a del­e­ga­tion to try to per­suade Jam­meh to step down.

Jam­meh said there was an “un­prece­dented level of for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in our elec­tions and in­ter­nal af­fairs. And also a sus­tained smear cam­paign, pro­pa­ganda and mis­in­for­ma­tion.” He called on Gam­bians to re­solve the is­sue them­selves.

“I be­lieve as we can, as Gam­bians, come to­gether and re­solve this and any other mat­ter with­out un­due ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence,” he said. “

“The Con­sti­tu­tion does not al­low us to en­ter any en­gage­ment, agree­ment or treaty that den­i­grates the supremacy of the Gam­bian Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Jam­meh said he has ap­pointed a sec­re­tary-gen­eral to me­di­ate the post-elec­tion cri­sis among all par­ties.

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