Senegal has condemned the action of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, concerning his decision to reject results of the December 1 presidential election a week after he admitted defeat to businessman Adama Barrow.
Senegal, the Gambia’s only land-based neighbor, said it was surprised that Jammeh was calling the electoral process into question a week after the polls and demanded that he gives up power peacefully.
“Senegal rejects and strongly condemns this statement,” according to a communique by its Foreign Minister Mankeur Ndiaye, saying he learned “with surprise” that Mr. Jammeh questioned his own recognition of the results a week before.
“Senegal demands that the outgoing president unconditionally respects the democratic choice freely expressed by the Gambian people, organize the peaceful transition of power and ensure the security and physical integrity of the newly elected president.”
Adama Barrow, an opposition coalition candidate was declared winner of the polls and Jammeh conceded defeat by calling Barrow and extending congratulations to him.
Senegal also urged the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (UN) and the United Nations (UN) to work together and take all necessary measures to safeguard the results as a sign of respect for the sovereignty of the Gambian people.
Why Jammeh rejected the results
Jammeh in rejecting the results cited electoral irregularities discovered later by his team. “I want to make it very clear, in the same way I accept the results on the basis that the IEC is independent, I will not accept the result. I reject the results,” Jammeh announced.
“I hereby annul the results and we will go back to the polls,” he added.
Jammeh said there were errors in the results from the Basse Region which were made known to his team after the declaration of results. The errors according to him resulted in a swelling of the total number of votes for his opponent Barrow.
“The errors are not from the level of the electorates but the IEC … The total number of votes was not mentioned and how it was rectified was not explained … These errors are not acceptable,” he explained.
Senegal further warned about the safety of its citizens in the Gambia. Dakar “solemnly warns against any interference with the security of Senegalese nationals living in The Gambia,” the statement added.
The Gambia is a small West African country enclaved in the Senegalese territory apart from its Atlantic facade.