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After The Reversal Of Jammeh, The Gambia In Uncertainty

Banjul, the capital of the Gambia, lives severe hours. In the aftermath of the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh’s decision to no longer recognize his defeat in the presidential election earlier this month, the streets are controlled by the security forces. This creates a confusing situation which, according to the Constitution, only the Supreme Court can dispel since it is a dispute over electoral results. The only problem is that Yahya Jammeh has already officially recognized his defeat on the phone and in public by exchanging with Adama Barrow, considered from that moment as the elected president of The Gambia. In the meantime, it should be noted that any presidential candidate may appeal to the Supreme Court within ten days of the proclamation of the results.

Yahya Jammeh blurs the cards

Yahya Jammeh, on 29 November 2016, during his last campaign meeting in Banjul. © MARCO LONGARI AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

The situation that prevails today in The Gambia has been written in several acts:

– Act 1: in power for 22 years in a country he led with an iron hand, Yahya Jammeh creates surprise by recognizing in public his defeat.This attitude surprised more than one and led the president of the Independent Electoral Commission to salute the “magnanimity” of Yahya Jammeh.

– Act 2: As African countries and the international community hail this extraordinarily positive scenario for democracy in Africa, Yahya Jammeh makes a spectacular turnabout in a television statement on Friday evening. “Just as I loyally accepted the results, believing that the Electoral Commission was independent, honest and reliable, I reject them in their entirety,” he said. And denouncing “unacceptable errors” on the part of the electoral authorities, he is demanding a new ballot.

– Act 3: once again positioning itself as the unavoidable president of the Gambians, Yahya Jammeh, in his statement on Friday, assured that “the intervention of foreign powers would not change anything”, warning that he would not tolerate any protest in the streets. Joining the act with words, he even prevented the plane bringing a mission of the ECOWAS to land in Banjul, according to the Senegalese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mankeur Ndiaye.

Adama Barrow urges calm

Adama Barrow, on 2 December 2016 in the streets of Banjul. © CITIZENSIDE / BANGALY TOURE CITIZENSIDE / BANGALY TOURE

Immediate reaction in The Gambia first, with the statement of President-elect Adama Barrow. The latter, addressing Yahya Jammeh, asked him to accept his defeat in the December 1 presidential election before rejecting his request for a new vote. With regard to the population and its supporters, it called for calm and above all “to go about their affairs”. “I invite you to keep” discipline and maturity “, he said in substance.

As for Yahya Jammeh, Adama Barrow said that “he exhorts him to change his position and to accept in good faith the verdict of the people.” At the end of an opposition Was held at his home, adding that the incumbent president did not have the constitutional power to convene a new election.


Importantly, on Thursday, Adama Barrow availed himself of the support of the chief of the army, General Ousman Badjie. According to Adama Barrow, he said that “he was loyal to President Yahya Jammeh because he was elected president.” He said that now that I am elected by the Gambian people, he was going to support me, “said Adama Barrow. A fact that did not seem trivial in the mind of Jammeh who reacted by granting promotions Thursday and Friday To some 250 officers and superior officers, a way of seducing a part of the army in, no doubt, his plan to retain power.

A police officer of the Gambia before the Supreme Court of Gambia after the liberation of the opponent Ousainou Darboe on 5 December 2016. © SEYLLOU AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU

The international community condemns Jammeh’s attitude

Meanwhile, international pressures have manifested itself through several signals. Senegal and the United States promptly condemned Mr. Jammeh’s move, demanding that he conduct a “peaceful transition” with Mr. Barrow and ensure his safety. In New York on Saturday night, the UN Security Council called on Jammeh to “respect the choice of the sovereign people of The Gambia and to transfer power to President-elect Adama Barrow without undue conditions or delay.” Shortly before, the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN had already called on the government of Jammeh still in place in Banjul “to respect the verdict of the urns And to guarantee the safety of President-elect Adama Barrow and all Gambian citizens. “

Other reactions: those of the European Union and Amnesty International. The European Union (EU) said it was “unacceptable” to reject the results of the election, “urging President Jammeh to respect the rule of law and the will of the Gambians.” Amnesty International, for its part, called on “the security forces to exercise restraint if the Gambians decide to exercise their right to protest peacefully.”

A crisis that falls badly, because in the middle of the tourist season

In this unstable environment, Gambians fear for their incomes, who live mainly from tourism. “Yahya Jammeh should not say things that will scare tourists,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity, a seller of fruit juice. “He must cede power peacefully for the good of Gambians,” he added. He is not wrong because in the tourist area of ​​Banjul, Western tourists were less visible than the previous days, said the correspondent of the AFP. A way to protect themselves from the outside agitation by staying in their hotel which does not escape the palpable tension in the country. Illustration: this scene attended by the journalist of the French news agency where servers were invading, divided into supporters and opponents of the outgoing president. No good omen for the rest if the situation does not settle fast.

Source: The Africa Point


Written by How Africa

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