Statement of the Africa Liberal Network
William Tucker, ALN West Africa Vice President
The Africa Liberal Network, the continent’s largest political affiliation, applauds the outstanding efforts of ECOWAS in Gambia. The Economic Community of West African States has today given former authoritarian leader, Yahya Jammeh, until noon Gambia-time to give up power.
This follows a march by ECOWAS troops across the border into Gambia, where the troops were met with zero resistance from local forces. The Chief of the Armed Forces of Gambia has himself said that he does not wish to be involved in any political misconduct. Meanwhile, duly-elected President Adama Barrow was sworn in yesterday at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. The embassy constitutes Gambian territory, thus making Barrow’s swearing-in compliant with the country’s laws.
The ALN joins the global call for a peaceful transition of power in Gambia. Upholding constitutionalism, due process, and the rule of law as fundamental tenets of liberal democracy, these principles which can form a foundation for a future prosperous, progressive Gambia.
We also applaud the work of the ALN’s member party in Senegal, the Alliance Pour la République (APR-Yakaar), and President Macky Sall‘s government in the crucial role they have played in protecting the validity of Gambians’ democratic choices. The United Nations and the African Union have supported the work of ECOWAS, reminding us that there must remain space for regional and global cooperation, including the Right to Protect.
Jammeh is now increasingly isolated. With defections from within his cabinet and that of his vice president, Jammeh faces impossible pressure both regionally and globally. Jammeh has previously during his presidency implemented authoritarian policies and provided empty, populist promises at the expense of Gambian citizens. Many have regarded him as an autocratic, violent dictator.
The former president’s human rights record is severely abysmal. Human Rights Watch lists arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearances and gross injustices as part of Jammeh’s despotic reign in Gambia. Jammeh held particular draconian disdain for journalists, opposition politicians, and LGBT activists.
The ALN looks forward to the dawn of a new chapter in a tolerant, open, united Gambia.
Luke Akal (ALN Coordinator)
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