Botswana has become the first African country to announce that it no longer recognises Yahya Jammeh as president of The Gambia.
The southern African made its position known in a statement issued on Thursday. It also called on the international community to mount pressure on Jammeh to step down.
“Following Mr. Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to hand over power to the President-elect Adama Barrow, in accordance with the expressed will of the Gambian people, the Government of Botswana announces that it will no longer recognise Mr. Jammeh as the President of Gambia, together with his Government.
“This decision which takes effect immediately is consistent with Botswana’s position as articulated through the Press Release of 16th December 2016.
“Mr. Jammeh’s decision not to respect the will of the Gambian people undermines the ongoing efforts to consolidate democracy and good governance in The Gambia and Africa as a whole. This is also in direct contravention of the spirit and aspirations of the African Union Constitutive Act.
“The Government of Botswana therefore continues to appeal to the international community to do all within its power to exert pressure on Mr. Jammeh to hand over power in order to ensure a smooth transition.”
Jammeh initially accepted the result of the election, but later made a U-turn, citing alleged irregularities.
Attempts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to make him accept the will of the people did not yield the desired result.
Senegal gave Jammeh up until midnight of Wednesday to end his 22-year rule, but he called the bluff of the neighbouring country, where Barrow is to be sworn in at 4pm on Thursday.
The incoming president disclosed this on Twitter.
— Adama Barrow (@BarrowOfficial1) January 19, 2017
Barrow left his country amid the political crisis. He was to take the oath of office on Gambian soil, but the 90-day state of emergency declared by his rival made it impossible.
Barrow enjoys the support of continental leaders.