Yahya Jammeh has rejected the results of the country’s recent presidential election a week after accepting defeat to his rival.
“I hereby reject the results in totality,” Jammeh said in a televised address late Friday, insisting that investigations since the December 1st poll have revealed a number of voting irregularities, which he described as unacceptable.
“Let me repeat: I will not accept the results based on what has happened,” added Jammeh, who has ruled the West African country for more than 22 years.
“After a thorough investigation, I decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I deplore serious and unacceptable anomalies that apparently appeared during the electoral process,” he said.
“I recommend new transparent elections that will be arbitrated by an independent electoral commission and in the fear of God,” the Gambian president said.
During the speech, the Gambian ruler further underlined that some figures in the election results had been altered and that voter turnout had been suppressed.
“Our investigations reveal that in some cases voters were told that the opposition has already won and that there was no need for them to vote and, out of anger, some of them returned home,” Jammeh said.
The African Union on Saturday voted “null and void” the request made yesterday by the outgoing President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh , to organize again the presidential election of December 1st which saw the victory of Adama Barrow.
The African Union condemned this shift and called in a statement Yahya Jammeh to “facilitate the peaceful and orderly transition and transfer power” to the newly elected president. It also called on the Gambian security forces to remain neutral in this crisis.
Banjul, the Gambian capital, was quiet Friday night after the speech of the outgoing president.
But the Senegalese Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday morning that the plane carrying Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who heads ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) West) had not been allowed to land at the airport in Banjul.
The United States also condemned the turnaround, calling it “an obvious attempt to undermine a credible electoral process in order to remain in power illegitimately,” through State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
Before the election, President Yahya Jammeh promised to lead the small country of West Africa for “a billion years”.
The outcome of the coup attempt of the outgoing president will depend to a large extent on the position of the army, which has been faithful to him for two decades.
According to the entourage of Adama Barrow, who must theoretically take office in January after a period of transition, Army Chief of Staff General Ousman Badjie has already contacted the elected president to ensure of his support.
But diplomatic sources believe that a military faction could remain loyal to the outgoing president.
“We are consulting on the action to adopt, but as far as we are concerned, the people voted,” the head of Adama Barrow’s transition team, Mai Ahmad Fatty, told Reuters, pointing out that The elected president and his team were safe.
“We will maintain peace and stability and will not allow anyone to provoke us and bring us into violence.”
The official results of the single-round election awarded 45.5% of the votes to Adama Barrow, a property developer who once worked as a security guard in London, against 36.7% to the current president.
The electoral commission then corrected these figures and awarded the president-elect a smaller margin of victory, with 43,% 3 of the votes, less than 20,000 ballots apart with Yahya Jammeh. The Gambia has 1.8 million inhabitants.
Human rights groups have denounced arbitrary detentions, the use of torture and the killing of political opponents by Yahya Jammeh’s regime.
Mamadou Dian Donghol Diallo.