January 21, 2017


Gambian Political Standoff Nears Resolution as Jammeh Agrees to Step Down (GABRIELE STEINHAUSER in Johannesburg and MATINA STEVIS in Dakar, Senegal, Jan. 21, 2017, WSJ)

If indeed final this time, Mr. Jammeh's resignation is a victory for democracy on a continent where several leaders in recent year either outstayed their mandates or changed their constitutions to abolish term limits. It is also a rare example of regional collaboration where many attempts of cross-border cooperation have failed in the face of nationalist policies.

The Economic Community of West African states, a regional bloc of which Gambia is a member, had spent weeks working to convince Mr. Jammeh to accept the election results. After his term expired at midnight on Wednesday, it was Ecowas which decided, together with Mr. Barrow's coalition, that he should take his oath of office​on Thursday, even though Mr. Jammeh hadn't ceded power. The swearing-in took place​in Gambia's embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

At that point, an Ecowas standby force was already stationed at Gambia's border with Senegal. Hours later, they crossed. But not a single shot was fired when armored vehicles, carrying soldiers toting automatic rifles, rolled into the country. Gambia's army, which has traditionally been loyal to Mr. Jammeh, didn't resist the invasion.

In a brief news conference early Saturday, the chief of the armed forces, General Ousman Badjie, said he now recognized Mr. Barrow as commander-in-chief.

Despite the lingering doubts over Mr. Jammeh's future, Banjul was slowly returning to normalcy. Many shops, which had been closed for the past three days, were opening again and traffic was slowly returning to the streets.

Interventions by the Bush/Obama administrations in places like Liberia, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, etc. have helped establish democracy as the continental norm for other African nations to enforce.

Posted by at January 21, 2017 9:14 AM