Gambian Security Forces ‘Seize Election Commission HQ’

On Tuesday, Gambian security forces reportedly obstructed access to the electoral commission’s HQ.

The Gambian security forces refused to permit the entrance of staffers just as delegates from several western African states arrived Gambia to urge President Yahya Jammeh to accept the outcome of the result.

President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel Alain de Souza led the delegation which includes Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma and Ghanaian President John Mahama, who also was just voted from office.

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Mr Alain de Souza reportedly told French radio RFI that the bloc could consider a military intervention if Yahya Jammeh–who has ruled The Gambia for 22 years– does not step down.

ECOWAS also warned that President Yahya Jammeh’s decision to not step down could lead to infighting and violence–a trend that has been evident in countries like Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, among others.

President Yahya Jammeh who seized power in a coup, initially accepted the result, even calling the President-Elect Adama Barrow to congratulate him on his victory. However, a few days later, President Jammeh stated that he was rejecting the result, citing irregularities in the electoral process. His ruling party said it would file a petition to the Supreme Court challenging the election.

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Prior to the December 1 election, he had urged Gambians not to contest the result regardless of the outcome, stating that Gambia’s polls are ‘fraud-proof”, “rigged proof” and protests would be pointless.

“Our election system is fraud-proof, rig-proof, you cannot rig our elections,” he said

“There is no reason that anybody should demonstrate. [Demonstrations] are the loopholes that are used to destabilise African governments.”

President Yahya Jammeh’s term comes to an end in January.