The outgoing President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh has finally agreed to step down, one day after his tenure ended having lost the Presidential elections in December 2016. The leader of 22 years announced on state television that he has decided to relinquish power.
“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians,” he said in a statement broadcast on state television early on Saturday.
The announcement came after hours of last-ditch talks with regional leaders and the threat by ECOWAS military force to make him leave.
The new president, Adama Barrow, had earlier declared that “the rule of fear” was over.
Jammeh had initially refused to hand over power to president-elect, Adama Barrow but a new deal, brokered by the government of Guinea has seen him accept to step down.
ECOWAS and U.N forces had expressed a willingness to remove Jammeh by force but only as a last resort and as two ultimatums passed, a military solution began to look more likely than ever.
It remains unclear what the terms of the new deal are as Jammeh had failed to earlier reach agreements with ECOWAS delegations twice.