ECOWAS upholds Gambia election results
The 50th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government was held in Abuja on 17 December 2016 to take stock of West Africa’s regional integration process. The security situation and the worrying political situation in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau topped the agenda. ECOWAS leaders agreed to uphold the 1 December 2016 Gambian election results and to guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect Adama Barrow who is supposed to be sworn in on 19 January 2017. ECOWAS leaders also reviewed the institutional crisis in Guinea-Bissau and urged all parties to strictly comply with the provisions of the ECOWAS-brokered Conakry Accord of September 2016. Due to financial constraints, ECOWAS will withdraw its military mission, ECOMIB, by June 2017. In reaction to the situation in Mali, ECOWAS noted that “in spite of progress made, there are still challenges to the full and effective implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.” Furthermore, ECOWAS leaders condemned the recent terrorist attacks on civilian populations, humanitarian workers, the Malian Defence and Security Forces, and MINUSMA. They also expressed concern about the “serious humanitarian situation occasioned by Boko Haram attacks in North-East Nigeria, affecting 14 million people, 7 million of which require humanitarian aid, the majority being children.” Looking forward, after the many elections held in the region in 2016, there is, to date, only one major election scheduled in West Africa. Liberia is set to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in October 2017. ECOWAS heads of state also endorsed the candidature of Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, as the Chairman of the African Union. The next ECOWAS ordinary session is scheduled to take place in May in Monrovia, Liberia.