Tensions are likely to flare and a small tourist-friendly nation may be in Africa thrown into limbo on January 19 after President Yahya Jammeh’s term expires and President-elect Adama Barrow swears himself in.
The Gambia’s defeated President Yahya Jammeh says President-elect Adama Barrow will be not be inaugurated unless the outcome of the disputed election is decided by the country’s Supreme Court.
“Unless the court decides the case, there will be no inauguration (of Barrow) on the 19 January,” said Jammeh, who had initially conceded defeat.
West African leaders have all pledged to attend Barrow’s inauguration in Banjul and urged him to continue making preparation. Coalition sources say preparations are on for the event.
Jammeh has accused the electoral commission of rigging the polls by sending home some 25,000 voters who were his party loyalist in provincial Gambia.
Jammeh denied he’s seeking to be declared the winner of the polls, but in his petition to the Supreme Court, his party stated he should be announced the winner or fresh polls should be held.
Electoral commission chief Alieu Njai insists the polls were transparent and that the results stand and will not be changed, but Jammeh says “justice must be done” by making sure that the nearly 300,000 people who did not turn out to vote are out to cast their ballot in fresh polls.
“Justice must be done and the only way justice can be done is to reorganize the election so that every Gambian votes. That’s the only way we can resolve the matter peacefully and fairly,” said Jammeh.
Voter turn out in The Gambia has always been low. December’s election saw one of the highest number of votes cast in the country’s election history.
ECOWAS is joined by the UN, AU, EU and other members of the international community demanding Jammeh step down. ECOWAS President Marcel de Souza said Jammeh will be forced out of power if he refuses to peacefully hand over power to the duly elected president of The Gambia.