The opposition coalition of Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow has called on long-time President Yahya Jammeh to step down immediately. Mai Ahmad Fatty, the opposition coalition representative, in a statement read to reporters in the capital Banjul on Monday demanded that Jammeh, who lost the election on December 1, to hand over power.
“We demand that outgoing President Jammeh immediately step down and hand over power,” Fatty said in the statement, adding, “We do not recognize that the outgoing president has the constitutional authority in the last days of his presidency, to appoint any Supreme Court judges in the Gambia for the purpose of receiving his petition.”
This comes after Jammeh announced plans to challenge in court opposition candidate Barrow’s election victory. The Supreme Court judges will have to be appointed before they can consider the president’s legal complaint. Therefore, Barrow’s inauguration may be delayed. On December 9, Jammeh claimed that authorities had made “unacceptable errors,” rejecting his defeat at the polls.
Jammeh, who has ruled the Gambia for more than 22 years, added that he had previously accepted the electoral results “believing that the Independent Electoral Commission was independent and honest and reliable.” According to official figures, Barrow won 43.29 percent of the vote in the presidential election, while Jammeh took 39.64 percent. The turnout was 59 percent.
A correction issued on December 5 by election authorities showed a slim victory for Barrow, by just over 19,000 votes. Western governments have been especially critical of Jammeh’s rule in the Gambia due to his decisions to quit the Commonwealth of former British colonies and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In quitting the Commonwealth in 2013, Jammeh described the organization as a “neo-colonial institution.” He also announced in October that the Gambia would leave the ICC, which he dismissed as “International Caucasian Court.”