Gambia’s Jammeh to challenge election result in court

Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh

Gambia’s incumbent president Yahya Jammeh will contest the election victory handed to opposition candidate Adama Barrow in the Supreme Court, his party has said.

This is in line with Gambia’s constitution. Under chapter 5 of the constitution, candidates have 10 days from the declaration of results to appeal to the Supreme Court.

In a shock rejection of his defeat at the polls, Jammeh cited in a speech broadcast late Friday “unacceptable errors” by election authorities.

He was referring to a readjustment of the votes counted in the December 1 presidential election.

Jammeh said he had previously accepted the electoral results “believing that the Independent Electoral Commission was independent and honest and reliable”, but would now “reject the results in totality.”

Latest official figures gave Barrow 43.29 percent of the votes in the presidential election, while Jammeh took 39.64 percent. The turnout was 59 percent.

 Jammeh’s declaration was “a prelude to a petition that the (ruling) APRC Party is in the process of filing before the Supreme Court of the Gambia against a fraud decision of the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission),” his party said in a  statement released late Saturday

The party has until Monday to file their petition against the election results. However, Monday is a holiday.

Jammeh’s swift concession of defeat on December 2 had stunned observers and led to celebrations in the country.

The Supreme Court has not sat in more than a year, so judges will have to be appointed before they can consider the president’s legal complaint, potentially delaying Barrow’s inauguration.

President Jammeh’s rejection of results attracted a lot of local and international condemnation.

Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow said on Saturday that Jammeh had no authority to reject the results.

The United Nations and African Union also called on Jammeh to step aside while the regional body ECOWAS called on the armed forces to stay neutral.

 

Africanews/Punchng/Zainab Sa’id