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General News of Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Jammeh rubbished my advice – Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has said ECOWAS included him in the mediation team to settle The Gambia’s election dispute in 2017 because he conceded defeat in Ghana’s 2016 elections, and, could, therefore, serve as an example to then-leader Yahya Jammeh.

Mr Mahama, however, revealed that Mr Jammeh flatly rejected his counsel at the time.

Mr Jammeh, after initially conceding defeat in his country’s 1 December 2017 election, changed his mind with an argument that there were irregularities with the process.

Mr Mahama, together with three other African leaders, was sent to The Gambia to speak to Mr Jammeh to step down.

Despite the many international assignments he has embarked on since leaving office, Mr Mahama, in an interview on GTV on Tuesday, 9 January 2018, disclosed that he was only included in The Gambia’s mediation team because he also lost an election.

The former Ghanaian leader said: “The Gambia one was particularly interesting. ...ECOWAS met and they were going to constitute a delegation to go to The Gambia. By then, I was still president because I hadn’t handed over; yet this was after December 7 [2017] but before January 7 [2018]. So it was decided they include me in the delegation and I know why they included me. They wanted me to be an example to Yahya Jammeh because I had also lost an election and conceded.

“So, it was President Koroma [Sierra Leone], President Buhari [Nigeria], and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [Liberia] and then they added me as the fourth. I was still president at the time. So, we went on a first mission and the mission actually failed because we spoke to President Jammeh and he declined.

He said there were irregularities in the elections. He had discovered it after he had conceded, and, so, he wanted the Supreme Court to be constituted to listen to his case. And then I tried to put in my pitch knowing the reason why I’ve been included, and I said: ‘President Jammeh, I have also just lost an election and it’s not life and death; there’s a lot more we can do together. You and I having been leaders of our countries, we can go round and engage in international assignments that help to consolidate democracy’. And his response was very typical of him.

He said: ‘The imperialist can tell you what to do in Ghana, but in The Gambia, the imperialist cannot dictate to us,’ so, of course, he refused.”

Yahya Jammeh was eventually forced out by ECOWAS and Adama Barrow who had won the election got sworn into office as president.