Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh accepts to handover power and go to exile

Barely a few hours before his mandate expires, President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia is reported to have accepted a last-minute deal to relinquish power peacefully and go into exile.

According to reports from Banjul which are yet to be independently confirmed, Mr Jammeh agreed to step down in the interest of peace and stability of the Gambia after a tense closed door meeting with the visiting president of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Reports added that Mr Jammeh will leave for Mauritania tonight with President Aziz.

It is not clear whether he will settle there permanently or move to another country.

Mr Jammeh’s mandate expires at midnight tonight after his surprised defeat in last month’s election by opposition candidate Adama Barrow.

He had vowed to cling to power after accusing the country’s electoral commission of rigging the election in favour of the opposition.

His attempt to overturn the election result at the Supreme Court has been delayed because of a shortage of judges as most of the judges come from neighbouring countries.

Neighbouring Senegal and Nigeria have threatened to storm Banjul militarily and enforce last month’s election results unless he steps down by midnight.

 

 

-Jollof News

Gambia electoral commission head flees to Senegal fearing for his life

The head of Gambia’s electoral commission has fled to neighboring Senegal fearing a plot against him, a month after declaring President Yahya Jammeh lost elections following 22 years in power, one of his relatives said.

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Alieu Momar Njie “fled to Senegal after he got information that the Gambian authorities were plotting against him and his team” one of his relatives told AFP late Tuesday.

“Some of his team members have also left for Senegal,” the relative said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The relative did not elaborate on how Njie fled or say who had gone with him.

There was no immediate comment from Senegalese authorities.

Njie had declared opposition candidate Adama Barrow the winner of December 1 presidential elections and pleaded with all parties to respect the result.

Jammeh’s party later lodged a legal complaint against the electoral commission and the country has since been in political deadlock.

The 51-year-old Jammeh, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1994, has said he will await a Supreme Court ruling in the case, delayed until January 10, before ceding power.

Jammeh’s refusal to step down, despite initially conceding defeat in the election, has stoked international concerns about the future of the tiny west African country.

Both the United Nations and African leaders have called for him to step down.

Meanwhile, a security source said that a group of people arrested for selling or wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan #GambiaHasDecided had been released.

One of those briefly detained, who declined to be identified, said armed men had entered a shop selling merchandise featuring Barrow’s image and seized T-shirts, caps and badges.

They said they were taken to Gambian National Intelligence Agency headquarters where they were cautioned before being released.

 

 

-AFP

Gambian president of 22 years concedes to Adama Barrow

The Gambia’s president of 22 years Yahya Jammeh will be replaced by a property developer, Adama Barrow, after losing the general election.

Mr Jammeh, who came to power in a coup in 1994, has agreed to accept defeat, said electoral commission chief Alieu Momar Njie.

Before announcing the final result, Mr Njie appealed for calm as the country entered unchartered waters.

The Gambia has not had a smooth power transfer since independence in 1965.

Mr Njie said that Mr Barrow had won Thursday’s election by more than 50,000 votes. He runs a property company which he founded in 2006.

A devout Muslim, Mr Jammeh, 51, once said he would rule for “one billion years” if “Allah willed it”.

“It’s really unique that someone who has been ruling this country for so long has accepted defeat,” Mr Njie told reporters.


Mr Jammeh’s defeat has been greeted with astonishment in The Gambia, where most people expected him to win. He has served four terms as president but now this unpredictable and ruthless man is to be replaced by a property developer.

Mr Jammeh’s 22 years in power have brought repression and intolerance to this tiny seaside nation, popular for cheap holidays in the sun.

He has been tough on journalists, the opposition and gay people. He also said he could cure Aids and infertility.


During the campaign, the country’s mostly young population seemed to be yearning for change, said the BBC’s Umaru Fofana in the capital, Banjul.

The economic challenges the country faces have forced many to make the perilous journey to Europe, with some drowning on the way, he said.

Human rights groups have accused Mr Jammeh, who has in the past claimed he can cure Aids and infertility, of repression and abuses.

Several previous opposition leaders are in jail after taking part in a rare protest in April.

Observers from the European Union (EU) and the West African regional bloc Ecowas did not attend the vote.

 

 

-BBC