Gambia’s newly democratically elected president, Adama Barrow is preparing to take power. Hours after authoritarian leader Yahya Jammeh flees the country.
The country was plunged into crisis when Jammeh refused to accept the decision of the democratically held election and hang on to power. He has been forced to leave as Gambia’s army has refused to support him, and Senegal and Nigerian troops have entered the country unopposed.
Jammeh, however has been given assurances by the U.N and African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS that he will not face punishment. They said in a statement that they will ensure that Jammeh, his associates, or his family become targets for punishment.
This has been met with a hostile reception in the Barrow camp. Mia Ahmad Fatty, adviser to Barrow said, “I was very shocked to learn from Facebook that the document we had rejected was already posted at the websites of both ECOWAS and the AU. Gambia will neither respect nor honor what was contained in that joint declaration. We don’t consider it legally binding on us.”
International rights lawyer, Reed Brody said in an email, that “it doesn’t give him an amnesty, and under international law in fact you can’t amnesty certain crimes like torture and massive or systematic political killings. Depending where Jammeh ends up, though, the real obstacles to holding him accountable will be political.”
Jammeh who has a reputation for brutality against those who opposed him had lost the support of the military and key members of his cabinet. He had also seen the international community lose patience with the erratic ruler.
In recent times he declared Gambia an Islamic republic, leave the commonwealth and the ICC.
Barrow was sworn in as president on Thursday in Gambia’s embassy in Senegal.
During the crisis 45,000 people fled to Senegal with many believing civil war is inevitable. Now with Barrow installed as president the country is coming back to life.