Gambia electoral Chairman, Njie flees country


Following a threat on his life, Gambia’s Electoral Commission Chairman has fled the country after declaring President Yahya Jammeh the loser of a Dec. 1 election.

According to a report, it is not known where Alieu Momar Njie might have fled to.

President-elect Adama Barrow won the vote and Jammeh conceded defeat but on Dec. 9, he said he would not step down.

According to Reuters, the change of heart however drew international condemnation.

The streets of Gambia’s capital Banjul on Wednesday lay deserted due to a boycott stemming out of fear of outgoing Jammeh’s decision to challenge the presidential election result.

Due to a heavy military presence in the city and its outskirts, residents stayed indoors and children did not attend school many shops as well remained closed.

After the ruling party filed a petition to challenge the result of the Dec. 1 vote, which saw the autocrat lose power after more than two decades, Gambians fearfully awaites Jammeh’s next move, NAN reports.

The ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) said the election should be annulled in a document handed to the registrar of the Supreme Court.

The petition was filed after an African Union (AU) delegation met with Jammeh, hoping to persuade him to hand over power to president-elect Adama Barrow.

However, Gambia’s Supreme Court is currently not operational with only one sitting judge, after Jammeh fired two others earlier this year.

In addition, all court houses have been closed throughout the poverty-stricken West African nation, as the Gambia Bar Association went on strike in protest against Jammeh’s refusal to bow out.
A wide range of professional bodies and Civil Society Organisations and various human rights groups have added their voice to the calls for Jammeh to respect the election result.

The Chairman of the African Union (AU), Mr Idriss Deby, had expressed full support for the decisions adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of State on the political situation in The Gambia.

In a statement issued in Addis Ababa and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, Deby commended the Heads for their “principled stand with regards to the situation in The Gambia.

He said the AU was in full support of the decisions reached at the meeting held in Abuja on Dec 16, including “the consideration to use all necessary means to ensure the respect of the will of the people of The Gambia.’’

Reports say that Jammeh had already clamped down on two Radio stations.


Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam

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