Gambia's outgoing president has issued a warning to foreign leaders not to interfere with his country's electoral process as several other African presidents are scheduled to meet with him on Thursday.
Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, said Tuesday on state-run television the country can figure out for itself whether he should give up power after he lost an election in December, and he warned against "propaganda and misinformation" aimed at discrediting him.
Jammeh unexpectedly lost the presidential election to opposition candidate Adam Barrow on December 1, but has refused to accept the results of the election, citing what he calls "an unprecedented level of foreign interference."
"I believe we can ask Gambians to come together to resolve this and any other matter without undue external interference," said Jammeh.
Initially he accepted the results of the election, but Jammeh’s political party filed a legal complaint against the electoral commission about a week after the election, citing voting irregularities.
Gambia’s Supreme Court was expected to rule on the case January 10, but postponed the ruling until May because it was unsure that a peaceful political transition would take place.
Now, several west African leaders from the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) are set to speak with Jammeh to try and persuade him to step aside peacefully.
Jammeh indicated that he will attempt to wait until the Supreme Court ruling is handed down before he accepts the election results.
If he follows through, it will put him on a path to confrontation with Barrow, who has said he plans to move forward with inauguration plans set for January 19.