President Yahya Jammeh is still refusing to step down, remaining defiant and adamant that fresh polls must be held. Jammeh in his new year message chooses not to hand over power peacefully to The Gambia’s duly elected president but to militarily take on a regional force.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall says there will be dramatic consequences for Jammeh and his allies if Jammeh prefers a military showdown to a peaceful exit.
Yahya Jammeh initially conceded defeat on state television after 22 years in power, but a week later, reversed his position, denouncing the election results and demanding a new vote.
“Let me make very clear, we are ready to defend this country against any aggression, and there, will be no compromise,” Jammeh said. “The impasse will continue with the risk of escalation into a military confrontation.”
Jammeh is alleging irregularities and filed a petition to the Supreme Court which is due to be reviewed on January 10. President-elect Adama Barrow has insisted he will take office nine days later, as planned, with ECOWAS leaders set to attend the ceremony.
Gambians say what outgoing Jammeh is asking for: a return to the polls, won’t be happening as they have decided.
“Ayegee,” meaning to “come down” has become an anthem in a grassroots campaign for Jammeh to step down.
Jammeh continues to be repressive although it is evident that he has been demystified and demoralized. He has cracked the whip on pro-democracy campaigners. At least two supporters of a social media campaign for him to step down were arrested, two radio stations closed, and #GambiaHasDecided billboards that replaced his Christmas photoshopped pictures being taken down.