• ECOWAS SUMMIT TODAY: More trouble for JAMMEH as regional leaders sentence him in ABUJA ahead of January 19

    17/Dec/2016 // 1964 Viewers


    West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS unanimously passed a sentence insisting that Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh steps down when his mandate ends in January because he lost an election, the bloc’s chairwoman, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, said on Saturday.

    Her comments came at the start of an ECOWAS summit in the Nigerian capital aimed at DECIDING AN ACTION ON AGAINST JAMMEH in the face of what regional leaders say is a challenge to its principles of democratic accountability.

    Johnson Sirleaf did not spell out what measures the bloc would take but they could include sanctions, which could hurt Gambia because ECOWAS member Senegal is the country’s only neighbour.

    “It’s now important that the authority at this summit considers measures to bring the matter to a successful conclusion before January 19 … when the mandate of the current President expires,” Johnson Sirleaf told the summit.

    Jammeh’s 22 years in power have been marked by allegations of human rights abuses and repression against perceived political opponents. He lost a Dec. 1 election to little-known challenger Adama Barrow and is due to step down on January 18.

    Initially, he conceded defeat but a week ago he rejected the results and called for a fresh vote in a move that was widely condemned. His party is now challenging the result in Gambia’s Supreme Court, reports Reuters.

    Johnson Sirleaf’s remarks follow a mission to Gambia this week accompanied by the leaders of several West African countries including Nigeria and Ghana, whose President John Mahama lost a December 7 election and said he would step down.

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  • ECOWAS leaders shrug as BUHARI accused of defying regional court orders calls for speedy reforms of ECOWAS institutions

    17/Dec/2016 // 10111 Viewers


    President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need to review the ECOWAS Treaty in order to make the regional organisation more responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.

    The president made the call at the opening of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority and Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, held in Abuja on Saturday.

    He also called for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS institutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and to prepare member nations for the challenges of such Institutional reforms.

    Buhari also stressed the need to make conscious efforts to improve on governance and accountability at all levels.

    “We also need to make conscious efforts to improve on Governance and accountability at all levels.

    “This calls for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS institutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and prepare us for the challenges of such Institutional reforms.

    “To this end, we should ensure that priority is given to the implementation of development programmes, while the ECOWAS Parliament should be entrusted with more functions.

    “In addition, the cost of governance must be reduced across all ECOWAS Institutions while resources should be devoted to programmes and projects that will have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizenry and create jobs fast enough to absorb our teeming youth population.

    “In this regard, it is necessary that measures be taken to review the ECOWAS Treaty in order to make ECOWAS responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.

    On economic integration, Buhari observed that the modest achievements in regional integration were being challenged by globalisation.

    According to him, most member countries continue to record low volume of trade, occasioned by declining level of economic activities, caused by the sharp fall in commodity prices.

    He said: “While oil prices fell by an astounding 57 percent between June 2014 and January 2015, other commodity prices have also weakened sharply thereby putting pressure on the current account and fiscal balances of our countries.

    “This ugly situation demands that we diversify our respective economies from commodities into other sectors such as banking, construction and telecommunications and most importantly agro–processing, manufacturing and services.

    “As we adjust to a more challenging globalised environment, stronger efforts are required to increase domestic revenue mobilisation in our countries and Community Institutions.”

    He said that Member States must diversify their economies away from trade in commodities towards developing robust infrastructure that would support manufacturing and industrialisation.

    Buhari, therefore, urged the Community to invest more in infrastructure and human resources so as to unleash the potentials that exist in our respective economies and in our peoples.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 15 member states of the ECOWAS are currently attending the summit with The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso being represented by their foreign ministers, while Cape Verde is being represented by Ambassador of Senegal to Nigeria.

    The summit will be discussing behind closed doors, the political situation in Gambia and Guinea Bissau while the 2016 Annual Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission (Report of the 77th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers would be presented and considered).

    The Report of 37th Session of the Mediation and Security, date and venue of the 51st Ordinary Session of the Authority as well as signing of Community Acts and Decisions will be discussed and considered at the summit.

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  • : GAMBIA: Finally, UN breaks silence on GAMBIA's return to ICC, lauds President ADAMA BARROW

    17/Feb/2017 // 1707 Viewers


    The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has welcomed the rescission of The Gambia’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    A statement issued by the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, Mr Stephane Dujarric, said Guterres “welcomes that The Gambia will remain a State Party to the International Criminal Court’s founding instrument.

    “He remains confident that States Parties will continue to further strengthen the Court through a constructive dialogue,” the statement said.

    The notification concerning the rescission of withdrawal was delivered to the UN chief on Feb. 10.

    “The Gambia had formally notified the UN chief, who is the depository of the Rome Statute of the ICC, of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute in November last year – a decision which the Secretary-General deeply regretted,” the statement said.

    The statement further noted that over the past two decades, the world had made decisive strides toward building a truly global system of international criminal justice, with the ICC as its centrepiece.

    It added that The Gambia, like so many other African countries, played a major role in the negotiations leading to the adoption of the Rome Statute and was among its first signatories.

    The ICC’s founding Rome Statute sets out the Court’s jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and, as of an amendment in 2010, the crime of aggression.

    In addition to jurisdiction, it also addresses issues such as admissibility and applicable law, the composition and administration of the Court, investigations and prosecution, trials, penalties, appeal and revision, international cooperation and judicial assistance, and enforcement.


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  • Embattled outgoing Gambian leader, JAMMEH, in a quandary as COURT rejects request to stop BARROW's inauguaration

    17/Jan/2017 // 1252 Viewers


    Gambia Supreme Court yesterday declined to stop Thursday’s inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow.

    The Supreme Court ruling followed a petition by President Yahya Jammeh, seeking an injunction aimed at blocking Barrow’s swearing in.

    Jammeh’s constitutional term in office is expected to end on Wednesday after he lost to businessman Barrow, in the December 1, 2016 poll.

    Although he initially accepted defeat, he has since lodged a case before the Supreme Court requesting the result be annulled.

    But the court is unable to hold a hearing until May – as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries – and Jammeh has said he is going nowhere until then.

    Barrow, who has received the support of the international community, has said he would go ahead with his inauguration on Jan. 19 despite Jammeh’s rejection of the result.

    Supreme Court Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle told Jammeh’s lawyer that he could not make the order being sought to stop the January 19 inauguration.

    Fagbenle said he was unable to preside over the motion filed because he was named in the petition.

    Already, thousands of people have begun fleeing Gambia amid growing signs that ECOWAS could invade the former British colony within days.
    Regional leaders have signalled their determination to mount a rare African defence of democratic principle by using force to ensure that Jammeh, Gambia’s president of 22 years, gives up power.

    Ferry terminals on the River Gambia are recieving passengers hoping for safe passage into Senegal. The United Nations refugee agency says it is assessing the situation.

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  • Again, JAMMEH hit by RESIGNATIONS, four MINISTERS quit - BCC

    17/Jan/2017 // 3161 Viewers


    Four government ministers have resigned in The Gambia, amid a growing political crisis over long-serving ruler Yahya Jammeh's refusal to step down when his mandate ends on Thursday, Reuters news agency reports. 

    The environment minister has quit, along with the ministers of foreign affairs, finance and trade, it quotes ministry sources and state media as saying.


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  • Gambian president declares state of emergency - The Guardian reports

    17/Jan/2017 // 2290 Viewers


    The president of The Gambia has declared a state of emergency in the west African country two days before he is due to leave office.

    The declaration is the latest in a series of attempts by Yahya Jammeh to hang onto power beyond his current tally of 22 years. Adama Barrow, a former estate agent who beat Jammeh in the December election, is due to be inaugurated on Thursday, but the incumbent is refusing to leave.

    Meanwhile, four government ministers, including the foreign and finance ministers defected on Tuesday, leaving Jammeh increasingly isolated.

    Thousands of Gambians are fleeing the country or sending their children abroad, afraid that the regional organisation ECOWAS will make good on its promise to resort to force to remove Jammeh if necessary. Hundreds of women and children balancing suitcases on their heads took the ferry out of Banjul, the country’s capital, on Tuesday, many bound for the border.

    “Everybody’s leaving,” said one Gambian immigration official. “They’re worried there might be war.”

    Jammeh said he was making the order “to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum”, although Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, is poised to return to Gambian soil at midnight on Wednesday under heavy security to be sworn in as The Gambia’s first new president in more than two decades.
    “I hereby declare a state of public emergency throughout The Gambia, as a situation exists, which if it is allowed to continue, will lead to a state of public emergency,” Jammeh told the nation over national radio and television. As the president’s voice boomed out from an old radio in Churchill’s Town in Serrekunda, welders stopped their work momentarily to listen.

    “This declaration is necessitated by the unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the December presidential election and in the internal affairs of The Gambia, and the unwarranted hostile atmosphere threatening the sovereignty, security and stability of the country.”

    Under the state of emergency, the constitution and citizens’ rights can be suspended, and the president can rule by presidential decree. Jammeh made the order despite the fact that parliament had not yet agreed to it.

    However, as he spoke, the matter was being discussed by the national assembly, and with most of the country’s opposition lying low, every member spoke in favour of it. By the constitution, a state of emergency last seven days, but in the same order, the national assembly extended it until July.

    Jammeh initially accepted the results of the election but later declared it null, saying the electoral commission had made errors. He took his case to the supreme court, but there were no judges to hear it, so it has been delayed until May. Then Jammeh tried to bring an injunction to stop Barrow attending his own inauguration, but the country’s chief justice said he could not rule on it.

    Several mediating missions by the Nigerian and Liberian presidents have failed to result in a deal.

    “He’s trying every trick he can think of to appear strong to local supporters and to appear peaceful to the international community, but he can’t change what’s coming. There are so many deals he should have taken,” a legal expert in Banjul said. “Perhaps he will wait until the last possible minute and then take a deal.”

    One of these deals offered to Jammeh is a “golden retirement” in Morocco, according to local reports, as long as he steps down. Nigeria has also apparently offered him asylum. 

    This post appeared first on The Guardian

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  • Liberia gets $18 million EU grant to support its budget

    17/Jun/2016 // 204 Viewers

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian leader

    The Liberian government has received EUR 16 million (USD 18 million) from the European Union (EU) to support the budget of the West African country targeting justice and security sectors.

    In a statement released by the EU on Wednesday, the regional body said the grant is the second payment under their EU budget support programme and the disbursement will be done directly into the treasury account of the Liberian government.

    The conditions of the disbursement, according to the statement, was agreed on with the government to channel the money into the areas of improved public financial management and some sector specific targets relating to justice and security.

    The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide.

    “The EU gives this 16 million Euro expecting that the government will use it to provide Liberians with the vital public services they deserve and it has committed to provide: health, education, justice and security,” the head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, said.
    She urged the Liberian government to continue the improvement of public finance management, fight against corruption, security and access to justice.

    The first payment of the grant disbursed in July 2015 was EUR 29.2 million (USD 33 million) and together with the second payment, they amount to nearly 10 per cent of the country’s 2015/2016 budget.

    Liberia has received a number of grants from the EU and other donor organisations to support its fragile economy due to the Ebola epidemic.
    For the 2015/2016 Financial Year, the country approved a budget of $622,743,420 and is expecting a revenue of $555,993,000 which will be a decline of almost 11 per cent.

    It attributes the losses in the fall of demand for iron ore and rubber, which are their two top exports and also reduced budget support, the government announced. - today.ng


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  • Border Closure Impasse: Senegal backs down, wants commitment to bridge construction from Jammeh

    17/May/2016 // 423 Viewers


    PARIS, MAY 17, 2016: (DGW) Gambia and Senegal have earlier on  agreed to reopen national borders to traffic, a source disclosed to our reporter in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

    In a communique issued by the two countries foreign ministers namely Neneh Macdouall Gaye and Mankeur Ndiaye on Sunday in Dakar, the two countries decided to resolve the impasse by reopening the borders to traffic as soon as possible.

    In a sudden reversal of the peace accord brokered by the Foreign Ministers, the Secretary-General of Senegal Transport Union, Mr Houma on Tuesday backed down and rescinded the resolution  adding that the Senegal-Gambian border will not be reopened unless President Jammeh shows some levels of commitment towards constructing  the proposed bridge which is the bone of contention between the two neighbouring countries.

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  • GAMBIA: Crowds gather for President Barrow’s inauguration

    18/Feb/2017 // 673 Viewers


    Thousands of people are gathering in Gambia for the inauguration of the country’s new president, Adama Barrow, after a lengthy power struggle forced him into exile.

    Various African heads of state are expected at the ceremony.

    Mr Barrow is only the third president in the history of Gambia.

    He was sworn in last month in a low-key event in neighboring Senegal before his predecessor agreed to step down.

    Saturday’s much larger scale ceremony is taking place in a stadium near the Gambian capital, Banjul.

    The celebrations also mark 52 years of the west African country’s independence, from Britain, but many are also calling the day the birth of a third republic following the ousting of Yahya Jammeh at the ballot box.

    The Gambia’s first leader, Dawda Jawara, who governed from independence in 1965 until the 1994 coup mounted by Jammeh, has also been invited, organisers told AFP.

    President Sall is a guest of honour at the ceremony, while Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who pushed for mediation efforts with Jammeh during his last days in office, is also expected.

    Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was to attend, another key mediator during the nation’s crisis, along with US Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in a sign of efforts to reset ties with the West.

    Mr Barrow has promised a new dawn for the country, which Mr Jammeh ruled with an iron fist.

    Many political prisoners have already been freed and Gambia is set to rejoin international institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the Commonwealth.

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  • More trouble for war criminal CHARLES TAYLOR as UK confirms investigations over phone calls to political allies

    18/Feb/2017 // 2670 Viewers


    PARIS, FEBRUARY 18, 2017: (DGW) More trouble looms for war criminal Mr. Charles Taylor as the UK government has confirmed that it is looking into reports that the jailed warlord phoned his political allies from prison in the north of England, BBC has reported.

    According to UK Foreign Office spokeswoman, "The UK has discussed this at the highest levels with the Liberian government and we are investigating.”

    Earlier this week Liberian information minister Eugene Nagbe, speaking to the BBC World Service, said he was "very concerned" at the alleged phone call. 

    A British MP who chairs an all-party group on Africa, Labour's Chi Onwurah, has also spoken out, warning that Taylor's influence "has the potential to threaten peace in Liberia," especially in light of the forthcoming election. 

    On a visit to Monrovia on Wednesday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson emphasised the importance of UK's relationship with Liberia. 

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