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“Buhari, other West African leaders cannot intimidate me, who are they to tell me to leave my country?” – Jammeh

Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh shows hi...Banjul, GAMBIA:  Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh shows his fingers with ink after casting his vote during the presidential elections 22 September 2006 in Banjul. Gambians voted today in elections in which President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a coup 12 years ago, is tipped to win a third term to run the tiny west African country that is regularly criticised for its media repression. AFP PHOTO SEYLLOU   (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, has hit out at regional mediators urging him to step down, saying he will not be intimidated.

President Jammeh had earlier conceded defeat in the election, after a 22-year-rule, but recanted a week later, asking for fresh polls to be conducted by a “god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”

His decision not to accept the result has drawn condemnation worldwide including from the UN, ECOWAS, and the U.S.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and Presidents Ernest Koroma, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and John Mahama of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana respectively led an ECOWAS delegation to visit Mr. Jammeh last week Tuesday.

The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, had called on him to honour his initial pledge to accept electoral defeat.

The leaders are not expected to reveal the details of the of the mediation until all talks are concluded. However, observers believe apart from asking Mr. Jammeh to leave office, the West African leaders are also trying to save him and his loyalists from prosecution after leaving office.

ECOWAS had said military intervention might be a possibility if diplomatic efforts failed to persuade Mr. Jammeh to leave office.

Mr. Jammeh has launched a court action to annul the vote after the electoral commission changed some results.

In a 45-minute speech at the African Bar Association on Tuesday night, Mr. Jammeh defended his position, saying West African leaders had violated the ECOWAS principle of non-interference.

“Who are they to tell me to leave my country?” he said during his televised speech.

“I will not be intimidated by any power in this world. I want to make sure justice is done.

“I’m a man of peace, but I cannot also be a coward. I am a man of peace but that does not also mean that I will not defend myself and defend my country and defend my country courageously, patriotically and win.”

The BBC’s Umaru Fofana in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, says it was Mr. Jammeh’s first public reaction to last week’s intervention by ECOWAS leaders. The Gambian leader used the opportunity to reiterate his call for fresh elections as the only way to resolve the impasse.

Some analysts have suggested that reports that Mr. Jammeh could face prosecution were behind his refusal to leave office

Human rights groups have accused the Gambian leader of committing serious abuses against opponents during his 22-year rule.

The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965.

 

-Premium Times

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About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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