President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia is about to concede defeat to the opposition coalition candidate, Adama Barrow.
President Jammeh has been the leader of The Gambia for the past 22 years, after seizing power through a coup in 1994. As a result, the western African state has never had a smooth transition of power in its history.
Barrow led with 263,515 votes, while President Jammeh got 212,099 and Mamma Kandeh got 102,969 votes, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission Alieu Momarr Njai declared.
See an African leader who has ruled a country for more than two decades concede defeat, especially one who has promised to rule for “one billion years” is surprising to Africans. Although it is the right thing to do, it is quite uncommon, which is why when former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling party conceded defeat to the opposition he was crowned a “champion of democracy.”
“It’s really unique that someone who has been ruling this country for so long has accepted defeat,” Mr Njie told reporters.
Prior to thursday’s election, it was obvious that the Gambians were seeking change. Reports show that many Africans undergoing perilous journeys through the Mediterranean are Gambians.
Despite Yahya Jammeh’s impressive record in improving the literacy record in Gambia, as well as ending child marriage and female genital mutilation, and decreasing child mortality rates, his human rights/civil liberties record is quite deplorable.
Due to a rare protest which occured in April, the government had major opposition leaders arrested – whom are stil in jail. This led the opposition to form a coalition and produce a candidate that would take on Yahya Jammeh, and they have produced the man, Adama Barrow.
Mr Jammeh is yet to release a statement regarding the result of the election.