Elaborate details of a deal signed by former Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, before agreeing to step down on January 21 have emerged. The deal, which spared the tiny West African country military action threatened by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), had major input from ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) as well as Presidents Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania and President Alpha Conde of Guinea. It followed the failure of initial mediation efforts by leaders of ECOWAS member countries.
A major highlight of the deal was the declaration by ECOWAS to halt any military operations in The Gambia for the sub-regional body to continue the pursuit of the peaceful and political resolution of the crisis.
To facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power and the establishment of the new government of President Adama Barrow, it was recommended that Mr.Jammeh should temporarily leave The Gambia on 21 January. However, ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN made a commitment to work with the new Gambian government to pave the way for Mr. Jammeh’s return to The Gambia at any time he chooses in line with international human rights legislations and his right as a Gambian citizen and former president. Similarly, ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN promised to ensure that countries that elect to host Mr. Jammeh and his family during the temporary exile period are not made to endure harassment, intimidation, sanctions and sundry pressures.
Also, ECOWAS, AU and the UN urged the new Gambian government to provide assurance that supporters and members of Mr. Jammeh’s government are not subjects of intimidation or harassment.
The three international bodies, details of the deal showed, also made a commitment to work with the new government to prevent the seizure of assets and properties lawfully acquired by Mr. Jammeh, his family, cabinet members, government officials and supporters of his political party. The bodies equally assured the former dictator that their readiness to work with his successor’s government to treat him with the kind of dignity befitting a citizen, former president and party leader as contained in the country’s 1997 Constitution and other related laws.
Similar assurances were given in respect of the treatment of his immediate family, cabinet members, government officials, security officials, party supporters, and loyalists.
The ousted dictator was equally assured by ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN that the government of his successor would enact legislations inimical to the treatment of himself, his family and supporters with dignity.
To avoid recriminations typical of fractious transfer of power in Africa, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN assured that they would partner with the Gambian government on national reconciliation to strengthen social, cultural and national cohesion.
The three bodies also announced their readiness to assist the new government to institute measures capable of forestalling a breakdown of law and order by working with the Barrow regime to support the Gambian Defence and Security Forces and maintain their integrity.