Monday, 19th December 2016
ECOWAS Concludes 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government with A 67-Count Communiqué; Gambia, Peace, Security, Democrac
Photo Credit: EXECUTIVE MANSION
Abuja, Nigeria: The Fiftieth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has ended in Abuja, Nigeria with a 67-count Communique that addressed a number of critical issues including the political situation in The Gambia, the political situation in Guinea-Bissau, the current situation in Mali, Maritime safety and security, the situation in Burkina Faso, regional economic performance, regional integration and development, institutional matters, peace, security and democracy, mobilization of funding to fund community programs, common external tariff, among others.
According to a dispatch from Abuja, the Authority considered the worrying political situation in The Gambiaarising from the decision of His Excellency President Yahya Jammeh to reject the results of thePresidential Election of 1stDecember 2016 which had resulted in the election of Mr. ADAMA Barrow as the President-elect of The Gambia. President Jammeh had earlier accepted the results and congratulated the new President-elect before changing his mindbased on corrections to the initial results by the Electoral Commission which howeverdid not alter the outcome of the election.
The Authority commended President Sirleaf who is also the Chairpersonof the Authority of Heads of State and Government for the efficiency with which shemanaged the situation in The Gambia and the firm position taken on behalf of the Authority. The Authority lauds the initiative that fielded a high-level mission of Heads of State comprising Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, H.E. Ernest Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, and H.E. John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana, toBanjul on 13 December 2016 to review the political situation with all stakeholders.
The Authority called on President Yahya Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect.
The Head of States and Government further agreed on the following: To uphold the result of 1st December 2016 election in the Republic of The Gambia; Guarantee the Safety and protection of the President-elect Mr. Adama Barrow; That all Head of States will attend the inauguration of the President-elect Adama Barrow who must be sworn in on 19th January 2017 in conformity with the Gambian constitution; Called on the Government and the Coalition Parties to show restraint in order to preserve national unity; to respect the will of the Gambian people as expressed by the Presidentialelection results of 1st December 2016; that His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in chief ofthe Federal Republic of Nigeria will serve as the Mediator in the Gambia and His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana as theCo-chair. The mediation process shall be conducted on the basis of terms agreedby the Authority of Heads of State and Government; Requests the endorsement of the AU and the UN on all decisions taken on thematter of The Gambia and also requests their support for the mediation efforts ofECOWAS including the provision of technical assistance where required; The Authority shall take all necessary actions to enforce the results of 1stDecember 2016 elections; The Authority encourages all stakeholders, within and outside The Gambia, toexercise restraint, respect the rule of law and ensure the peaceful transfer of power; Itcalls on the Gambian defense and security forces to perform their role in a nationalisticmanner and protect lives and property.
The authority also reached decisions in several areas including the economic performance of West Africa; regional integration and development matters; agriculture and water resource programs; infrastructural development; the holding of the Round Table for the community development program; institutional matters; the mobilization of funding for community program; economic partnership agreement and common external tariff; peace, security and democracy; the situation in Guinea-Bissau; the situation in Mali; the situation in Burkina Faso; Presidential and General elections in a number of West Africa Countries; maritime safety and security, among others.
Meanwhile, the Authority of Heads of State and Government have decided to hold their next Ordinary Session in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, in May 2017.
The 50th Ordinary Session was attended by the following leaders and representatives of governments and institutions: President John Dramani MAHAMA of Ghana; Alpha CONDE of Guinea; José Mário Vazof Guinea Bissau; Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF of Liberia; Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA of Mali; Mahamadou ISSOUFOU of the Republic of Niger; Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Macky SALL of the Republic of Senegal; Ernest Bai KOROMA of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE of the Togolese Republic.
Others were Aurelien A. AGBENONCI, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation ofthe Republic of Benin;Alpha BARRY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and BurkinabeAbroad of Burkina Faso;Cesar MONTEIRO, Ambassador of Cabo Verde in Senegal; Bala GARBA-JAHUMPA, Minister of Works, Construction andInfrastructure of The Gambia; UN Secretary-General’s SpecialRepresentative for West Africa, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Guinea Bissau and Head of UNIOGBIS,Mr. Brahim Modibo Touré, as well as Representatives of the Chairperson of the AfricanUnionCommission and the Commission of the West African Economic and MonetaryUnion (UEMOA) as observers.