The UN has denounced the ongoing clampdown on the media by the embattled outgoing President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh.
Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said the UN condemned the ongoing desperation by Jammeh to unconstitutionally hold unto power.
Dujarric was responding to Correspondent’s question about the shutting of radio stations in The Gambia as part of the desperate attempt by Jammeh to perpetuate himself in power.
“Obviously, it’s clear that we’re against any and all forced closing of radio stations.
“The free media is an important component to any democracy.
“Obviously, the situation in the Gambia is of continuing concern to us,’’ Dujarric said.
The UN official pointed out that the meeting convened on Monday in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Chief Mediator in the political impasse in The Gambia.
According to him, the meeting will provide the UN with an update on the political situation in the country, in addition to the UN Office for West Africa.
“We’re trying to get some sort of update from our colleagues in the office for West Africa.
“And we’ve been involved in that, as well.
“It’s important for the sake of the people of The Gambia that a peaceful resolution be found to the current impasse that we’re in,’’ Dujarric added.
Jammeh’s administration, over the weekend, closed a fourth radio station, Paradise FM, in the latest clampdown on the media by the embattled president.
The Gambian leader, who is trying to entrench himself by closing down the media to muzzle free speech, is due to complete a term-less rule spanning over two decades in the country.
The president lost in a historic Dec. 2, 2016 presidential election to an opposition candidate Adama Barrow and conceded defeat in a surprising gesture praised by the opposition and the international community.
He, however, rescinded his earlier decision, citing alleged electoral malpractices and had filed a petition at the country’s Supreme Court to challenge Barrow’s victory.
The UN, AU, ECOWAS and the international community have condemned the move and are employing diplomatic efforts to persuade the embattled president to cede power peacefully.
NAN reports that Buhari is leading the mediation with the immediate past president of Ghana, John Mahama.