Gambian president-elect tells Jammeh to transfer power like former colonists
In a Christmas message, Barrow said Gambians should be free of the threat of violence as “we enter a New Year of hope” after Jammeh threatened to cling to power unless the Supreme Court orders him to step down.
Barrow also announced the creation of a group of experts to lay the foundations for his new administration.
Jammeh, who has been in power for 22 years, stunned observers by initially accepting his defeat in the December 1 vote by opposition candidate Barrow, but then flip-flopped a week later, rejecting the results and filing a court challenge.
“I should assume office when the term of office of the incumbent expires… I do not want to preside over a country that is not at peace with itself,” Barrow said in a statement.
“I am calling on all peace loving Gambians to… work for a peaceful transfer of executive power, for the first time in our history since independence.”
“If the colonialists could peacefully hand over executive power… (we) should be able to show a better example to our children,” Barrow said.
“To ensure that the country realises its full potential when I assume office, I have already commissioned the establishment of a think tank” to prepare a transition plan.
Under Jammeh’s long rule, The Gambia has remained crushingly poor but enjoyed relative stability – though rights groups and media watchdogs accuse him of cultivating a climate of fear and clamping down on dissent.