Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared that he would not step down.
This is even as he condemned mediation by West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, that aims to get him to leave power after he lost a December 1 election to challenger Adama Barrow.
Jammeh made this comment on Tuesday evening during a live broadcast on state television.
The statement was a hardening of the veteran president’s position after days in which hopes mounted he could be persuaded to hand over power at the end of his mandate on January 18, when Mr. Barrow is due to be inaugurated.
He said: “I am not a coward. My right cannot be intimidated and violated.
“This is my position. Nobody can deprive me of that victory except the Almighty Allah.”
“Already the ECOWAS meeting was a formality. Before they came, they had already said Jammeh must step down. I will not step down.”
Initially, Mr. Jammeh accepted the results of an election whose outcome was seen across Africa as a moment of hope.
However, on December 9, he reversed his position and said he would challenge in the country’s Supreme Court the results of an election he said was riddled with irregularities
President Jammeh is accused by human rights groups of the detention, torture and killing of perceived opponents during his 22-year rule.