Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com
A proper reading of the ECOWAS Communique reveals two complimentary intentions that should be noted by President Jammeh, in particular, and the Gambian population, in general.
The first intention is to promote a respect for the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia which empowers the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to declare election results and for an incumbent to leave office when the term of five years expires.
ECOWAS also recognises that the President – Elect should assume office on the day the term of the incumbent expires.
No Gambian is empowered to set aside the verdict of the Constitution. Only the courts could inquire into and determine the merits of an election petition.
The second aspect is for ECOWAS to send a mediation team comprising President Buhari of Nigeria and President Mahama of Ghana to continue the mediation between the President – Elect and the Outgoing President.
In that regard, one should not view their promise to attend the inauguration of the President – Elect as a declaration of war. Instead it is simply a declaration of intent to recognise the legitimacy of the presidential election which was won by Adama Barrow.
Hence, the incumbent should continue to open his doors for negotiation, knowing full well that he was the one who moved the whole world to conclude on the election held in the Gambia. The reversal of his decision puts him in a difficult situation in trying to convince people to change their minds when they had already decided on the outcome. He is the one who should recognise that the source of the problem is his change of heart.