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Gambian Opposition Welcomes Commonwealth Mediation


Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who’s currently the chair of the 53-member Commonwealth, has been mediating between Gambian president Yayah Jammeh and opposition politicians. President Obasanjo’s efforts come as the Gambia prepares to hold elections later this year. The government says as a good will gesture it will drop charges against some opposition members accused of sedition and unauthorized possession of official documents. The opposition denies the charges.

Ousainu Darbo is the leader of the opposition National Alliance for Democracy and Development in the Gambia. He told English to Africa reporter James Butty he welcomes the initiative: “President Obasanjo has shamed us. We ought to have done this ourselves, rather than he coming from Nigeria. I must say he has done well [in terms of what was expected of him] as a leader in West Africa…We believe with commitment on all sides this will be a solid foundation for a viable, sustainable and vibrant electoral process that is honorable.”

Darbo says the mediation will be successful if it leads to the creation of a code of conduct and a level playing field for all parties. He says a level playing field will be reached “when we all contest elections on an equal footing, [and]…when public resources are not used by any one party to the disadvantage of the other,” including the [mis] use of civil servants and security agents during the campaign

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