ELECTIONS IN THE GAMBIA

LATAM-AFRICA/

World governments warn Yahya Jammeh to hand-over power

The African Union (AU) has declared Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s rejection of the results of the 1 Dec. 2016 Presidential election as null and void and warned its Peace and Security Council would meet shortly to discuss the consequences of such a declaration. The AU Commission Chairperson Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma said on Saturday the continental body was following the aftermath of the Presidential elections. She said Addis Ababa would soon engage the Peace and Security Council to consider steps to be taken to ensure peaceful change of power. “The Chairperson strongly urges President Jammeh to facilitate a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power to the new President of The Gambia, as decided by the people of the country.  In the current context, she calls on the Gambian defense and security forces to remain strictly neutral. “The AU Commission continues to follow closely the situation in the Republic of The Gambia, in the aftermath of the presidential elections held on 1 December 2016,” AUC said in a statement. The AU ambassadors at their 642nd Council meeting on 6 December 2016 congratulated President Jammeh for the peaceful conduct and excellent conditions for the holding of the presidential election. The Gambian President accepted defeat and congratulated the winner of the Presidential election Adama Barrow after the final results were declared by the country’s electoral body. The Council took note of President Jammeh’s “well-appreciated” acceptance of the outcome of the election, by recognizing the victory of President-elect Barrow. “The Chairperson reaffirms the imperative need for the concerned Gambian stakeholders to strictly comply with the rule of law and the respect of the will of their people as clearly expressed during the 1 December presidential elections that have been labeled free, fair and transparent,” the AUC said. The AU insists the relevant provisions of Article 23 (4) of the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance should be observed during the peaceful change of power. The AU, while reacting to a statement made on 9 December by the incumbent President, calling for new elections and the jailing of Electoral Officials, insisted the out-going President already offered his public and graceful acceptance of the President-elect as the true expression of the people’s will. The AU warned against President Jammeh’s declaration of the vote outcome as null and void. The Chairperson reiterated the AU’s readiness to work closely with regional and international stakeholders, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations. The regional organisations have vowed to work together to ensure the Gambian parties find the best way towards a speedy and peaceful transition and transfer of power.

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European Union:

Jammeh’s call for new election is ‘unacceptable’

The European Union (EU) has said President Yahya Jammeh’s rejection of the result of the 1 December election and his call for a new vote is “unacceptable” and clearly against the outcome of the election. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica made the statement in a press release made available to the press by the EU Banjul office. Jammeh, surrounded by cabinet ministers and security chiefs said on state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services: “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process. “I recommend fresh and transparent election which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.” Jammeh said he was convinced that the results were not accurate, adding that the Electoral Commission erred as indicated in the revised results, which still put Barrow in the lead. The EU statement said: “The European Union strongly urges President Jammeh to fully respect the rule of law and will of the Gambian people as expressed on Election Day, to stand by his earlier acceptance of the results and allow a peaceful transfer of power to the new president of The Gambia. “The European Union supports a peaceful and constitutional change of power in full respect of the constitution, as wanted by the majority of the Gambian people. Any attempt to reverse carries the risk of serious consequences.” The EU said it is of utmost importance that all political actors and institutions unequivocally reject any violence and abide by the law. The US has also condemned Jammeh’s about turn, after accepting the result and congratulating the winner, Adama Barrow. Jammeh has ruled Gambia with an iron fist since toppling a civilian government in 1994. He has been condemned by the international community for gross human rights abuses that have seen suppression of protests, disappearances, detentions and deaths.

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US condemns defeated Gambian President’s call for new election

The United States government has condemned Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s rejection of results of a presidential election that he lost and is instead calling for a new vote in the West African nation. Jammeh, who lost the 1 December election to the opposition coalition 2016’s Adama Barrow and conceded defeat, turned around on Friday to reject the result. “We strongly condemn President Jammeh’s December 9 statement rejecting the December 1 election results and calling for new elections,” the US said in a statement in Dakar.   “This action is a reprehensible and unacceptable breach of faith with the people of The Gambia and an egregious attempt to undermine a credible election process and remain in power illegitimately.” The statement called on President Jammeh, who accepted the election results on 2 December, to carry out an orderly transition of power to president-elect Barrow in accordance with the Gambian constitution.   “We call upon all institutions in The Gambia, including the elected leadership, the armed forces, religious leaders, political parties and civil society organizations to reject violence and peacefully uphold the will of the people that was expressed clearly through the ballot box.   “The people have spoken and it is time for Gambians to come together to ensure a peaceful transition to President-elect Barrow,” the statement added. Jammeh, surrounded by cabinet ministers and security chiefs said on state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services: “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process. “I recommend fresh and transparent election which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.” Jammeh said he was convinced that the results were not accurate, adding that the Electoral Commission erred as indicated in the revised results, which still put Barrow in the lead. Jammeh has ruled Gambia with an iron fist since toppling a civilian government in 1994. He has been condemned by the international community for gross human rights abuses that have seen suppression of protests, disappearances, detentions and deaths.

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