The Gambia’s communication minister, Sheriff Bojang, on Monday said he had left his post in the first high-profile Cabinet defection since President Yahya Jammeh refused to accept losing a December election.
Opposition leader Adama Barrow won the polls by a thin margin, sparking nationwide celebrations in the riverine nation.
In a statement sent Bojang said Jammeh’s efforts were “an attempt to subvert the express will of the Gambian electorate” and urged others to join him.
“The Gambia has decided and we must accept and respect this decision,” he said.
The minister made headlines in October by announcing that Gambia intended to leave the International Criminal Court, calling it the “International Caucasian Court.”
“The government of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia hereby informs all and sundrie the withdrawal of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia’s membership of the International Criminal Court, the ICC. This action is warranted by the fact that the ICC despite being called International Criminal Court is in fact an ‘International Caucasian Court’,” Bojang had said.
Jammeh’s opponents hope Bojang’s departure might signal further departures from among allies within the country who retain control of the army and other state institutions.
Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall Gaye resigned in December, though her decision attracted little publicity.
Many officials and businessmen in the country have fled the country, fearing a crackdown by the former lieutenant who seized power at aged 29 in a 1994 coup and is accused by rights groups of jailing and killing his critics, africanews reports.