Did Paul Biya, the Cameroonian Head of State, take a stand in the electoral crisis Gambia is currently going through? For the general opinion, it is a fact that Mr Biya has given his full support to Adama Barrow, challenger of Yahya Jammeh, who has been in power for 22 years. Indeed, on 5 December 2016, he wrote an official telegram to “His Excellency Adama Barrow, President-elect of the Republic of Gambia”.
“Mr President-elect and dear brother, I am pleased to extend to you my heartfelt congratulations, on your election to the highest position in your country. I also add my wishes for total success in carrying out your most important duties”, wrote Paul Biya.
It is however important to put this telegram back into the correct context. It was written three days after the outgoing president, Yahya Jammeh himself, acknowledged his defeat. Acknowledging having been beaten by the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow, during the 2 December 2016 presidential election with 45.54% of votes, per official results.
But, a week after the telegram from the Cameroonian President, Yahya Jammeh had a change of opinion. He is currently requesting for a new election. Even though the diplomatic noose is tightening around the outgoing president, the army still stands by him for the moment.
In a communiqué published at the end of the Economic Community West African annual summit (ECOWAS), on 17 December in Abuja (Nigeria), the sub-region restated its strong support to the president-elect of Gambia, Adam Barrow.