The Gambia: President Jammeh Orders Fresh Elections

The shock announcement over the weekend came after he earlier conceded defeat to opposition leader, Adama Barrow.


After receiving commendation from world leaders for conceding defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow in last week’s presidential polls, Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, over the weekend reneged on his decision. Agency reports cited Jammeh, who has been in power for 22 years, as ordering fresh elections “to be officiated by a God-fearing and independent electoral commission,” explaining that “abnormalities” were noticed in the last vote.

According to the electoral commission, results of the vote of 1 December, 2016, gave Adama Barrow, the candidate of a coalition of seven opposition parties 222,708 votes (43.34 per cent) and President Jammeh 208,487 votes (39.6 per cent). A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 votes (17.1 per cent). In a swift reaction to the turnaround announcement, the UN Security Council insisted that Yahya Jammeh must hand over power without any preconditions. All 15 Council members called on Jammeh to “respect the choice of the sovereign people of The Gambia,” the BBC reported. The African Union described the announcement as “null and void.”

Adama Barrow, a property developer, was due to take office in late January 2017. Mai Ahmad Fatty, the head of his transition team, said they were “consulting on what to do,” adding: “As far as we are concerned, the people have voted. We will maintain peace and stability and not let anyone provoke us into violence.” Heavy military presence was reported in the capital, Banjul, but the streets remained calm. On Friday, December 2, 2016, shortly after the Independent Electoral Commission announced the result of the annulled poll, Defence Chief, General Ousman Badgie and the Inspector General of Police, Yankuba Sonko, assured the victor of their support.

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