In between the whispers of an Ecowas Standby Force to be deployed in the event the Gambian leader was going to remain obdurate in his stance to remain in power, coupled with murmurs of the mystery surrounding Jammeh as a mad dictator who, like a mad dog, needs to be put down, one thing is clear: the posse of West african diplomats were never going to take The Gambian situation lying down.
In one foul sweep, Gambia was kicked off the dictator list -- only to stage an unwelcome comeback.
For ECOWAS, this is textbook conflict resolution: remind Jammeh of Ecowas protocols on democracy; the sub-regions' commitment to democracy and zero tolerance for coups. For the African Union, and activists, they will be thinking through the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. A consonance between regional protocols and continental ones are not always as explicit -- even as it is understood they should be.
For the UN Office for West Africa & the Sahel's boss, this may be unprecedented, but so far, so familiar. After all, in the many years Dr.Ibn Chambas headed ECOWAS, dealing with, and managing, Jammeh was de rigeur. But now, there's a new motivation: to ensure that the effort of the newly-expanded and erstwhile UNOWA, which now has a mandate to cover the beleaguered Sahel, under the banner of UNOWAS, is all worth the trouble.
The Authority agreed that, “all Head of States will attend the inauguration of the President-elect Adama Barrow who must be sworn in on 19th January 2017 in conformity with the Gambian constitution.”
Calling on the “Government and the Coalition Parties to show restraint in order to
preserve national unity”, ECOWAS urged respect for “the will of the Gambian people as expressed by the Presidential election results of 1st December 2016”.
ECOWAS further “requests the endorsement of the AU and the UN on all decisions taken on the matter of The Gambia and also requests their support for the mediation efforts of ECOWAS including the provision of technical assistance where required”.
Finally, The Authority “shall take all necessary actions to enforce the results of 1st December 2016 elections”. Enforcement has now become synonymous with military, intervention by an Ecowas Standby Force.
The Executive arm of ECOWAS appears to have become the ultimate nemesis, a kind of arch-defender of sub-regional democracy, boldly supporting and defending the region's democratic dispensations.