The Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang has fled to neighbouring Senegal, in a sign that President Yahya Jammeh is facing resistance from within his cabinet over his refusal to hand over power when his term expires on 19 January.
In a statement, Mr Bojang said Mr Jammeh’s decision to challenge his defeat in the 1 December election was “an attempt to subvert the express will of the Gambian electorate”.
He called on others to join him in resigning from the long-serving ruler’s government.
Mr Bojang confirmed the authenticity of the statement via telephone from Senegal, Reuters news agency reports.
The pro-opposition Freedom newspaper reports that he arrived in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, a few days ago and had no intention of returning to The Gambia.
Mr Bojang was seen as Mr Jammeh’s chief propagandist, often appearing on state media to read out controversial government statements.
Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall Gaye resigned last month, though her decision attracted little publicity.
Opposition leader Adama Barrow, who defeated Mr Jammeh in the poll, said he would inaugurate himself as president on 19 January.
The Supreme Court is due to hear today a petition by Mr Jammeh’s party challenging the result.
However, it is unclear whether the case will go ahead as judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone have not arrived in The Gambia.
The tiny West African state often appoints foreign judges because of a shortage of local judges.