Call For Fresh Election by President Yahya Jammeh Puts Gambia on Edge

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has ordered a new election, while rejecting the outcome of last week’s election that he lost to opposition leader, Adama Barrow
In a broadcast on Saturday, he called for fresh elections.
The announcement made on state television throws the future of the West African country into doubt after the unexpected election result ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.
Jammeh had conceded defeat on state TV last week, prompting wild celebrations over the defeat of a government that human rights groups accused of detaining, torturing and killing opponents during his 22 years rule.
But on Friday he made a U-turn, saying new facts suggest the election was manipulated to favour his opponent.
“After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process,” Jammeh said.
“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission,” he said.
Witnesses said Banjul, the capital, was quiet overnight, and there was particular nervousness about the President’s statement that he would deal harshly with any troublemakers who took to the streets.
International reaction was swift. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Jammeh’s rejection of the results was an egregious attempt to undermine a credible election and remain illegitimately in power.
Senegal’s Foreign Minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and “solemnly” warned Jammeh not to harm Senegal’s interests or its citizens in Gambia.
Barrow’s win galvanized many in Africa, who saw it as a step forward for democracy, and they baulked at the prospect that it could be reversed.
“The international community, notably ECOWAS (the West African regional bloc) and the African Union, should loudly protest any unlawful attempt to subvert the will of the Gambian people,” said Babatunde Olugboji, deputy programme director at Human Rights Watch.

Author: News Editor

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