President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has rejected the results of the 1 December presidential elections in the tiny West African nation, which he lost to opposition coalition leader Adama Barrow. In a televised address, Jammeh criticised the electoral commission and proposed fresh elections to be organised by “God-fearing” people.
Jammeh previously had conceded defeat and promised a smooth transfer of power, describing Gambia's electoral system as “rig-proof” and transparent, and adding that the opposition victory was a “clear victory”. The Chief of Defence Staff (head of the army) pledged allegiance to the president-elect after Jammeh did so.
However, Jammeh's rejection of the results came barely 24 hours after he promoted 49 junior officers of the Gambia Armed Forces. There were unconfirmed reports that some senior members of the army exerted pressure on Jammeh to concede defeat.
Here is a video of Jammeh rejecting the results.
Following his announcement on national television, Gambians took to social media to protest Jammeh's decision.
Sait Matty Jaw criticised Jammeh's move, saying that he risks the peace and stability of the country:
The defeated dictator in Gambia has rejected the rigged prof elections that he organised at lost. Now putting The Gambia at a very critical position. As Gambians we spoke loud and clear that we no longer need the services of Jammeh. His current move has put the tiny country that have been non for its stable nature into a dire situation that needs immediate global attention. Jammeh lost hand down in a system he has created and now is putting the lives of citizens at risk.
Kemo Cham warned that anyone supporting Jammeh's rejection of the results maybe guilty of treason:
Anyone, including members of the Gambian army, who supports this man, is equally guilty of treason.
Even the person who wrote that speech. I know he is not intelligent enough to speak such good English. This moron!
Jeffrey Smith tweeted a call of action to regional leaders in the African Union and the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS):
African Union & ECOWAS leadership: It is time to be relevant, time to stand up to this brute once and for all. This is unacceptable. #Gambia
— Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_JeffreyT) December 9, 2016
Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist, noted that Jammeh's decision is not in line with Gambian law.
The announcement by Pres. Yaya Jammeh to reject the December 1 presidential election has no basis in law. It is unconstitutional and an affront on our national sovereignty and dignity.
The election was conducted 9 days ago. The results were validated by the representatives of all the parties including [Jammeh's party] APRC in each and every counting center in the country. The results were announced by the Chairman of the [Independent Election Commission] who declared Adama Barrow the elected President of the Republic of the Gambia on national television. On December 2 Yaya Jammeh conceded defeat and called to congratulate the president-elect Adama Barrow on national television.
Dr Isatou Touray, who withdrew her candidature to support the opposition coalition flagbearer Adama Barrow, tweeted:
President Jammeh's rejection of the election results is a rape against democracy. pic.twitter.com/cGD0r9kXQ5
— Dr. Isatou Touray (@DrIsatouTouray) December 10, 2016
In the meantime, there is heavy military installations across the capital with security checkpoints mounted in strategic locations. Jammeh said he has vowed to crush any public demonstrations and urged everyone to go about their regular business until fresh elections are held.
The Senegalese foreign minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, has condemned Jammeh's rejection of the election results. According to reports, he has reportedly summoned a United Nation Security Council meeting on the situation and has notified regional organisations such ECOWAS and the African Union.
The African Union has called a statement by President Jammeh rejecting his loss “null and void” since he had already conceded defeat. The European Union has urged President Jammeh to fully respect the rule of law and will of the Gambian people.
Meanwhile, Gambia has denied the ECOWAS chair landing space at the Banjul International Airport.
The other losing party, Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), led by Mamma Kandeh has said it is dismayed by Jammeh's rejection of the results, adding that GDC has accepted the election outcome.