(JollofNews) – An opposition leader in the Gambia has taunted President Yahya Jammeh for opposing plans by the regional block, Ecowas, to restrict West African presidents to two terms in office.
The proposal discussed at Tuesday’s Ecowas summit in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, was supposed to formalise this across the region but were shelves after opposition from Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh and Togo’s Faure Gnassingbé. Both presidents have been in power for more than two terms.
Although Mr Jammeh has not made public his reasons for opposing the term limit, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) said he was not surprised at Mr Jammeh’s decision.
He said Mr Jammeh is afraid to leave office for the furtherance of the democratic ambitions of many thousands of Gambians.
Mr Darboe said: “After serving more than 20 years in office, what is it that President Jammeh will do or can do that he has not failed woefully at? What grand promises hasn’t he broken, time and time again? The self-styled illustrious son of our small country prides himself of being the ‘dictator of development’. Yet, the only ‘dictatorship’ we see is not remotely in development but in governance and hijacking the wishes of the people.”
He added that if Mr Jammeh had accepted the calls all over Africa, for elected presidents to leave office after two consecutive five years in office, he would have gained some respect even from his ardent opponents.
“However, we are not the least surprise that he is afraid to leave office for the furtherance of the democratic ambitions of many thousands of Gambians,” the UDP leader stated.
“ Time is always on the side of the people. Whether the Gambia and Togolese government accept it now or later, Africa is changing, and those unwilling to flow with the tide will be banished to bad records of our history books. If you do good, good will follow you.
Our advice to President Jammeh is, accept electoral reforms and term limits and Gambians will decide what your legacy will be. Ecowas need to rethink the process of accepting minority views in a consequential matter like ‘capping term limits’.
“The goal of attaining lasting peace in Africa lies in those occupying the highest office, understanding that there is a specified time line to their ultimate departure from office. That realisation is anecdotal and may be the missing link Africa needs to end tyranny, dictatorship, rule by fear and corruption. Gambians will not lose hope.”