Embattled Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has annulled the just-concluded elections in his country, after rejecting the results which indicated his rival Adama Barrow had won with over 20,000 votes.
The Gambian leader, who has been in power for 22 years, had since lodged a petition with the Supreme Court. However, without waiting for the case to be heard, he has made a quick turnaround, annulling the elections.
Jammeh’s unsurprising decision is contained in a lengthy communication titled: ‘Statement by President Jammeh on IEC error on election results’ issued by the President in his capacity as the Chairman of the ruling party, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).
According to Jammeh, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) made several ‘serious’ errors while conducting the December 1 elections among them swapping his votes to benefit the opposition, improper tallying and also denying his agents access to the polling centres.
‘On this note I want to make it very clear that in the same vein I accepted faithfully the results believing that the IEC was independent and honest and reliable, I hereby reject the results in totality. Let me repeat I will not accept the results based on what has happened during that week,’ Mr Jammeh wrote.
He added: ‘This is a serious anomaly which nobody will accept. Certain areas also especially in CRR our APRC Polling agents were refused entry and in some instances humiliated and kicked out of the voting area by the IEC officials from 8 o’clock in the morning until 1pm in the afternoon. This was the time interventions were made and then our agents were allowed’.
Meanwhile, according to Jammeh, the new date for elections is to be announced at an appropriate time when all requisite elections paraphernalia is in place. He also lambasted the IEC, saying it was impartial, and that the electoral body’s actions led to his defeat.
‘This being the case as I said I hereby announce to you Gambians my total rejection of the election results and thereby annulling the elections in its entirety until we go back to the polls because I want to make sure that every Gambian has voted under an independent electoral commission that is independent, neutral and free from foreign influence’ he wrote and warned against foreign intervention.
‘To the other team, we have seen what has been happening these days, but let me make it clear, the intervention of foreign powers in the country would not change anything. We know that plans were made and are being made for foreign troops to come because you have no confidence in the Gambian soldiers, children of the Gambia, employed and selected across the country.
I made one thing clear and I swore to the almighty Allah and the Quran that the Gambia cannot be colonized twice or enslaved twice and i swear this will not happen in a billion years,’ he added.