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Gambian president Jammeh in U-turn, rejects election results

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Gambian president Jammeh in U-turn, rejects election results

Gambian president Jammeh in U-turn, rejects election results
December 11
06:48 2016

There is tension in Gambia yesterday as President Yahya Jammeh, who accepted defeat in the country’s presidential election about a week ago, turned round to annul the results on Friday. He also called for “fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”

Reacting, the president-elect has urged Jammeh to accept the verdict of the Gambian people.

When Jammeh, who had severally been described by critics as an autocratic ruler, accepted the result of the election, ceding power after 22 years, to a coalition led by the opposition leader, Adama Barrow, there was celebration in the West African country even as observers praised him for showing ‘unexpected’ maturity.

But the celebration was cut short yesterday as Jammeh recanted his earlier acceptance of the results of the polls in a television broadcast. “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,” he said.

Following the resultant tension, there were reports yesterday that troops have been deployed to the streets of Banjul, the capital of the Gambia, to quell any likely protest or resistance. It was reported that “soldiers were seen placing sandbags in strategic locations across the capital, Banjul, a development that triggered widespread unease among the already spooked population, who had been panic-buying food before the vote due to fear of unrest.”

Already, observers and human rights activists have condemned Jammeh’s change of heart.

One of the reports quoted Babatunde Olugboji, Deputy Programme Director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, as saying the organisation was “deeply concerned by reports of belated objections to the Gambian election results raised by President Jammeh”.

He called on “the international community, notably the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union” to “loudly protest against any unlawful attempt to subvert the will of the Gambian people”.

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