Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said the rule of law must be followed and his lawyers urged him to keep pursuing his right to remain President of The Gambia in court.
President Jammeh says there will no inauguration for the winner of last month’s election, Adama Barrow until the Supreme Court makes a ruling on his petition. His Information Minister said any swearing in would be “illegal and unconstitutional” while the APRC has a petition challenging the results.
“…..constitution provides only the Supreme Court can review our challenge and only the Supreme Court declare anyone President and so I ask each and every one of us to respect the supreme law of the republic and await the Supreme Court review of the election results,” Jammeh said.
This does not change the mandate the IEC Chair has to declare a winner – in this case – Adama Barrow. The results announced by electoral chief Alieu Momar Njie stands until a time the Supreme Court rules otherwise.
In 2006 and 2011, then IEC Chief Mustapha Carayol declared President Yahya Jammeh the winner of the polls. Ousainou Darboe and the UDP launched a legal challenge to the results saying the polls were not free and fair because it was marred by frequent intimidation and harassment of his supporters by the security forces loyal to Jammeh.
Leaders of the UDP and GMC alliance in 2011 highlighted what they called the ubiquitous presence of armed security personnel, senior local government officials such as regional governors, district chiefs, and alkalolu, among others, as some of the reasons that cast an enormous doubt and imposed a pernicious influence on the just-concluded presidential election.
“We strongly reiterate our stand that the results of the said elections were bogus and fraudulent, and constitute a naked theft of the will of the people through the back door. It shall not stand,” Darboe said.
The UDP and GMC alliance insisted that the electoral and electioneering processes, including the campaigning dynamics have been intentionally skewed in favor of the APRC to the gross disadvantage of the alliance.
Darboe’s claims were back by ECOWAS and Commonwealth Observers.
Although the Commonwealth said the outcome of the election was “a reflection of the wishes of the people,” it pointed out the biased media in favor of President Jammeh, who had also used the state’s resources and security forces to campaign for re-election in office.
“The preparations and political environment for the said election are adjudged by the commission not to be conducive for the conduct of free, fair and transparent polls,” said ECOWAS. And in 2011, it did not send any monitors because of “an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the party in power… and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.”
The UDP petitions in court in 2006 and 2011 did not, however, stop the swearing in of President Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh was sworn in whiles the Supreme Court was hearing the petition. The rule of law was not disregarded. He was declared the winner by electoral commissioner Mr. Carayol. Carayol’s declaration stood valid as long as the hearings were ongoing.
In effect, President Yahya Jammeh’s election petition has nothing to do with the inauguration of Mr. Barrow. If Jammeh and the APRC insist that Barrow’s inauguration will be illegal or unconstitutional, then Jammeh’s ruling on The Gambia from 2006 has been illegal. Thus, all those involved should be arrested and charged with treason.
The essence is, the constitution cannot be manipulated now and interpreted to suit one’s imagination to create a favorable situation for yourself.