13, December 2016
Gambian military forces have taken over the office of the Independent Electoral Commission amid a dispute over the result of a recent presidential election. Alieu Momarr Njai, the chairman of the commission, said on Tuesday that security forces had entered the commission’s building. “The military came to my office and said I am not to touch anything and told me to leave,” Njai said, adding, “I am worried for my safety.”
The raid comes amid increasing disagreement about the result of the recent presidential election. President Yahya Jammeh, who reportedly gained 208,487 votes or about 40 percent, had initially conceded defeat against Adama Barrow, who obtained 222,708 votes or over 43.3 percent. However, Jammeh later changed his mind after the commission revised some results.
Njai rejected Jammeh’s worry about the validity of the revised outcome. He said Jammeh would go nowhere by challenging the outcome. “The election results were correct, nothing will change that,” Njai said, adding, “If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast. The results are there for everyone to see.”
Heads of state from several countries in the West African region began arriving in the Gambia on Tuesday in a bid to persuade Jammeh to relinquish power. Marcel de Souza, the president of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), who leads the initiative to make Jammeh leave office, said ECOWAS may even be forced to send troops to the Gambia.
“We have done it in the past,” he said, adding, “We currently have troops in Guinea-Bissau with the Ecomib mission. We have had troops in Mali. And therefore it is a possible solution.”