It is shocking how the Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh turns to reject the result of the recently concluded election, weeks after conceding defeat to the incoming president, Adama Barrow.
The autocratic president, Yahya Jammeh, who had kept the smallest west African country under an iron grip for more than two decades, conceded defeat after a shocking election result shows he lost to Adama Barrow, a real-estate developer who once worked as a security guard in London.
Speaking on state TV, Mr. Jammeh called for a fresh election to be conducted, citing “abnormalities” in the vote which had Mr. Adama Barrow, winning with more than 45% of the vote.
“After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process.
“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”
Jammeh’s defiant announcement came after the chair of the country’s new ruling coalition said he would be prosecuted for his crimes within a year of handing over the reins of government in January.
Soldiers were seen placing sandbags in strategic locations across the capital Banjul, a development that triggered widespread unease among the already-spooked population, who had been panic-buying food before the vote due to fear of unrest.
51-year-old Yahya Jammeh, came to power in a coup in 1994 and had since his regime, used violence and fraud to maintain power, even as he instill fear in the hearts of the people
Jamameh’s concession to defeat through a phone call he made to the incoming president, Adama Barrow, came as a shock to all, considering his dictatorial power.
However, his announcement on Friday throws the future of the country into doubt after the result which would end Jammeh’s 22-year rule was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.
Reacting to this new development, a Human Rights Watch spokesman also said it was “deeply concerned”.
Babatunde Olugboji, the watch’s deputy programme director, called on the international community, notably (regional bloc) ECOWAS and the African Union, to loudly protest any unlawful attempt to subvert the will of the Gambian people.
In like manner, the government of Gambia’s neighbouring country, Senegal, condemned the move and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.