Gambia’s defeated dictator’s election petition dropped

Gambia’s defeated dictator’s election petition dropped

Gambia’s ex-president, Yahya Jammeh’s election petition against the West African nation’s electoral commission and new leader has been withdrawn by the Attorney for his party at country’s constitutional court.

The withdrawal of the election challenge came after Jammeh was forced to leave the country by regional powers after his refusal to cede power sparked political turmoil.

Jammeh had ruled the Gambia, mainland Africa’s smallest nation for 22 years and was defeat in the polls by his rival, a real estate developer, Adama Barrow.

Barrow was backed by eight opposition groups in Gambia’s December 1 election, in which Jammeh suffered a surprising defeat in the hands of the opposition.

Jammeh had initially accepted defeat before making a political u-turn that sent more than 75,000 fleeing to the borders and leaving more than 150,000 people internally displaced.

Jammeh had called for election results to be annulled and fresh polls held. Although he had called the country’s unique electoral system “rigged-proof and fraud-proof,” Jammeh accused the electoral commission of malpractice and bowing to international pressure.

Guinean and Mauritanian leaders brokered a deal with Jammeh for him to live in Equatorial Guinea, where he took up farming. Dropping the electoral challenge was part of the deal to preserve national interest and peace.

It is the first Supreme Court sitting for the Gambia in more than two years. Jammeh had refused to appoint judges to the Supreme Court to prevent the hearing of cases brought forward by political prisoners and the Gambian media.

The refusal to constitute the Supreme Court hindered the hearing of his own election petition after Nigeria and Sierra Leone declined to send in judges on a prompt notice.

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