Gambia's president-elect says Jammeh can't demand new vote

2016-12-10 18:00
Adama Barrow (File: AFP)

Adama Barrow (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar -  Gambia's president-elect said on Saturday that the outgoing leader who now rejects his defeat has no constitutional authority to invalidate voting results or call for another election, and he called on President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate a smooth transition in the interest of the tiny west African country.

Jammeh's surprise reversal late Friday was certain to spark outrage among the tens of thousands who took to the streets after Adama Barrow was announced the president-elect in the Dec. 1 vote, shouting "Freedom!"

The African Union on Saturday called for security forces to remain neutral. Soldiers were in the streets of the capital, Banjul, as Gambians closed down shops in fear of unrest.

Barrow said the Independent Electoral Commission is the only competent authority to declare a winner.

"It was already done so, and I am the president-elect," Barrow said. "President Jammeh is the outgoing president. He is to hand over executive powers to me when his term is expires in January."

'Leaders come and go'

Jammeh, whose 22-year rule has been marked by repeated accusations of human rights abuses, late on Friday announced that he rejects the results of the presidential election, a week after he jovially conceded to Barrow. "Allah is telling me my time is up," he said then.

Jammeh now says investigations since the election revealed a number of voting irregularities. In a speech on state television, Jammeh said he rejects the election results "in totality".

On Saturday, Barrow recalled that Jammeh called him on December 2 to concede defeat.

"The outgoing president told me in a simple, clear language that the results were regarded of the people and God," Barrow said after meeting with the coalition government at his home.

Barrow called on Jammeh to join his side for a smooth transition.

"Let him know that leaders come and go. Sooner or later, I must also go," Barrow said. "I urge him to change his current position and accept the verdict of the people in good faith for the sake of the Gambia, our homeland, whose people deserve peace and freedom and prosperity."

'Gambia can't afford instability'

Jammeh's latest comments drew swift criticism from the international community. African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Saturday said Jammeh's statement was "null and void."

The United States government called Jammeh's rejection of the election results an attempt to remain in power illegitimately.

The government in neighboring Senegal, which envelopes the small country of 1.9 million except for its coastline, strongly condemned Jammeh's move. Senegalese Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the situation.

Jammeh's protest is "an extremely dangerous move that risks leading to instability and possible repression," Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International's West Africa researcher, said in a statement.

Jammeh, who seized power in a bloodless 1994 military coup, has long been accused of overseeing a government that imprisons, tortures and sometimes kill its opponents, according to human rights groups.

Mai Ahmad Fatty of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress, one of eight parties that backed Barrow, said the coalition has the will of the people on its side.

"Remain calm. We are working round the clock to restore sanity. We have the full support of our people. The world is with us," Fatty said. "Gambia cannot afford instability."

Read more on:    yahya jammeh  |  adama barrow  |  gambia  |  gambia 2016 elections  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content this holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.