With 24 hours to the expiration of his mandate , President Yahya Jammeh is digging in. He has declared a 90-day state of emergency. But Nigeria has deployed a warship in readiness to launch an attack. The warship, NSS Unity is on the move in readiness to launch an attack. The warship is currently sailing off the coast of Ghana. A senegal-led ground force is on standby.
Jammeh decried “extraordinary” foreign interference in his country’s affairs and December’s election.
In his televised announcement, Mr Jammeh said “any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace” are banned under the state of emergency.
He said security forces were instructed to “maintain absolute peace, law and order”.
Earlier, the National Assembly passed a motion condemning what it called the “unlawful and malicious interference” of the African Union and the country’s neighbour, Senegal, in The Gambia’s affairs.
Mr Barrow, a property developer, is meant to be inaugurated as the new president on Thursday. His spokesperson expressed shock and sadness at the declaration, says the BBC’s Umaru Fofana in Banjul, the capital.
It is remains unclear if a curfew is being imposed, our correspondent says.
Mr Jammeh initially accepted the election results but then decided he wanted them annulled after the electoral commission admitted some errors, although it insists this did not affect the final outcome.
The Supreme Court is unable to hear the challenge until May because of a shortage of judges, and Mr Jammeh has said he will not step down until then, BBC reports.
FULL TEXT OF THE DECLARATION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY BY PRESIDENT JAMMEH:
I, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa, President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Acting under the provisions of section 34 (1) (b) of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, today, the 17th of January 2017, hereby declare a state of public emergency throughout the Islamic Republic of Gambia as a situation exists which, if it is allowed to continue, may lead to a state of public emergency.
The unprecedented and extraordinary amount of foreign interference in the 1st December Presidential Elections, and also in the internal affairs of the Gambia, and the unwarranted hostile atmosphere threatening the sovereignty, peace, security and stability of the country.
The inability of the Supreme Court to convene as a result of the non-appearance of the Judges to hear the election petitions, mainly influenced by foreign powers and their agents, in an effort to thwart the constitutionally mandated process, as captured in an audio recording of the absconded chairman of the IEC discussing on how plans have been made to ensure the Supreme Court Judges will not sit on time to hear the petitions against the flawed results he published.
The current state of fear and confusion created by some of the political players in the country, which could lead to the breakdown of law and order.
The need to prevent a constitutional crisis and power vacuum pending the determination of the petitions at the Supreme Court and the application for an injunction against swearing in Mr. Adama Barrow or anybody as president of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia, until the Supreme Court decides on the 1st December 2016 Presidential Election results.
Under this state of public emergency, civil liberties are to be fully respected while all citizens and residents in the Gambia are banned from any acts of disobedience to the Laws of the Gambia, incitement to violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace.
The security forces are hereby instructed to maintain absolute law and order throughout the country.
His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhagie Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa
President of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia.