Gambia’s longtime dictator Yahya Jammeh, has defied West African regional leaders, following calls for his stepping down from the Presidency, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The dictator told a delegation of African leaders assigned to mediate and convince Jammeh to allow a peaceful transition of power to President elect Barrow, that he is determined to challenge the results of the December, 1st election in court. Hence, Jammeh said he is not going to entertain any talks for his withdrawal from the Presidency. The Banjul talks was a complete failure. No deal, or breakthrough was reached by the visiting African leaders.
While African Heads of State were in Banjul to meet Jammeh and President elect Adama Barrow, the dictator, has already taken over the offices of the Independent electoral Commission—the IEC election house. IEC workers, including its Chairman Alieu Mamar Njai, were denied access to the Commission on Tuesday. Armed guards have taken over the building. No one is allowed to have access to the building, said a source.
This followed an election petition filed by Yahya Jammeh, in court challenging the outcome of the elections. Jammeh wants the court to declare President elect Adama Barrow’s electoral victory “null and void. He also wants the court to order for fresh elections.
“I understand that the judges for the Supreme Court to hear the petition case filed by the government and APRC against the IEC presidential results have already been nominated. A legal source in the country says the Supreme Court, has the power to annul the results outright, although I don’t know the time frame for their deliberations,” said a source who reached us late Tuesday.
The Gambia Bar Association, under the leadership of Gambian Barrister Sheriff Tambadou, has argued that the Supreme Court has not been sitting over a year now. This is largely attributed to lack of judges to fill the vacant court. Hence, Tambadou, opined that Mr. Jammeh’s desperate attempts to subvert the electoral victory of President elect Barrow amounts to treason.
The Bar also argues that Jammeh has no constitutional right to appoint judges to hear any election petition—given the illegitimacy of his Presidency at this hour. However, the Bar’s legal objection doesn’t stop Jammeh from nominating judges to hear his frivolous election petition.
African leaders are expected to meet on December, 17th to decide if military option could be employed to force Jammeh to relinquish power. The delegation left Banjul on Tuesday with utter shock, disbelief, and disappointment.
Meanwhile, Transition spokesman Halifa Sallah, told reporters in Banjul that the transition is on course and they are waiting on Jammeh’s five year term to expire sometime in January. He said President elect Barrow would be sworn in once Jammeh’s term expires. He also spoke about a meeting they had with the visiting Heads of State. Mr. Sallah said they were encouraged by the delegation to proceed with their efforts to constitute an incoming government.
Mr. Sallah added that the Banjul talks would be followed by another meeting to be held by African leaders on December, 17th. He said the outcome of the upcoming meeting will determine what cause of action to be taken to remedy the situation.
Mr. Sallah also briefly commented on Jammeh’s move to challenge the outcome of the elections in
court. He maintains that he and his team are working vigorously to ensure a safe transition of power, despite the regime’s contention of President elect Barrow’s legitimate electoral victory.