The UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) says ECOWAS has decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the results of the Dec. 1, 2016 presidential election in The Gambia.
The Head of UNOWAS, Mohamed Chambas disclosed this while briefing the UN Security Council on the political and security situation in the region.
Mr. Chambas is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.
He pointed out that there was progress in West Africa and the Sahel, but warned of the region’s political challenges, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said at the briefing.
The UN envoy cited a “rising tide of democracy” throughout the continent, noting that a number of countries had recently held elections which largely complied with electoral norms and standards, upholding their status as a model in the region and beyond.
Making Reference to the presidential elections in the Gambia, and the ensuing crisis, Mr. Chambas said: “However, some countries in the region had witnessed political uncertainty or significant security challenges.’’
“We were saddened by the quickly unfolding political crisis resulting from President Jammeh changing his mind and deciding to reject the results,’’ he said.
He further updated the 15-member council on the initiatives to resolve the situation there taken by ECOWAS that agreed to uphold the elections results and decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the results.
The UN envoy added, “UNOWAS is fully involved in supporting the ECOWAS-led mediation, which continues to explore all avenues towards a peaceful transfer of power,”
The Secretary-General’s West Africa and Sahel envoy also informed council members of elections in Cape Verde and Ghana as well as in Guinea, where polls anticipated to be held in February had been postponed.
Chambas in his briefing also spoke of the continuing security and humanitarian challenges in Nigeria due to frequent attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram militant group.
He appealed for more funding and support for relief programmes in the country.
Chambas further updated the council on UNOWAS’ close collaboration with other UN missions in the region and in the context of the drawdown of the UN missions in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.
He added that it worked on issues related to regional stabilisation, technical support and in the implementation of its Resolution 2282 (2016) and the General Assembly Resolution on Sustaining Peace.