A native of Kunting village in Central River Region’s Sami district has said that Gambians in the Diaspora are equal citizens of the country and they should be given the right to vote in the country’s elections particularly in presidential elections. Kalifa Sillah said Diasporans are one of those who regularly contribute to Gambia’s remittance through foreign currency exchange and contributing to national development. During the first phase meeting of a two-week civic education public sensitization campaign by National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in his community, Mr. Sillah said Gambia should now be advancing to provide voting right opportunity to Gambians abroad. The NCCE and CRC civic education public sensitization campaign is meant to prepare and set the ground for the public consultations across the country.
The Gambia: Electoral Commission mulls switch from marbles to ballot papers in future elections | Journal du Cameroun
Gambia’s election chief, Alieu Momar Njai has said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is considering swapping marbles in favour of ballot papers for voters in future national elections.Since elections began in The Gambia under British colonial rule in the early 20th century, glass marbles instead of ballot papers are used in successive voting exercises, including the latest poll cycle which began last December. Speaking to the online Fatu Network on Wednesday, Mr Njai said the introduction of ballot papers which are the standard voting materials for much of the rest of the world, could be as early as the local government elections scheduled for 12 April 2018.
The Gambia will hold its first election on Thursday since the downfall of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh. Expectations are high that new lawmakers will overhaul the national assembly once derided as a mere rubberstamp by many in the country. Gambians have long complained that under Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, laws were often made by executive decree and buttressed by legislation much later on, if at all. Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the 238 registered candidates representing nine different political parties who are vying for the 53 seats up for election.
In response to an invitation by the Gambian authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to The Gambia to observe the Parliamentary elections scheduled for 6 April 2017. This would be the first time the EU would be deploying a fully-fledged EOM in The Gambia, reflecting the EU’s commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country in a framework of broader democratic reforms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Mr Miroslav Poche, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer.
Using a combination of diplomacy and muscle, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forced longtime Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to cede power this month to challenger Adama Barrow, who won the nation’s general election. Neighboring Senegal amassed troops and threatened to remove Jammeh by force. Regional powerhouse Nigeria threatened to help. The presidents of Mauritania and Guinea conducted shuttle diplomacy between Gambia’s capital of Banjul and Senegal, where Barrow had fled. Jammeh finally agreed to go into exile on January 20. Despite the successful outcome, some question the wisdom of ECOWAS intervening on behalf of the people of the Gambia.
West African troops entered the Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Sunday, to cheers from the city’s residents, a Reuters witness said, as part of efforts to allow the new president, Adama Barrow, to take office after the country’s former ruler fled overnight. Yahya Jammeh, who led the Gambia for 22 years but refused to accept defeat in a December election, flew out of Banjul late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea as the regional force was poised to remove him. A convoy of around 15 vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers mounted with heavy machine guns and pick-up trucks full of soldiers, rolled down one Banjul street in the late afternoon, according to a Reuters journalist who saw them. City residents lined the road, applauding and shouting “thank you” as the soldiers smiled and waved back. Troops were later seen entering the presidential compound, State House.
Yahya Jammeh, the former Gambian president, has left the country after he finally agreed to step down following 22 years of rule. Jammeh and his family headed into political exile on Saturday night, ending a 22-year reign of fear and a post-election political standoff that threatened to provoke a regional military intervention when he clung to power. As he mounted the stairs to the plane, he turned to the crowd, kissed his Qur’an and waved one last time to supporters, including soldiers who cried at his departure. The flight came almost 24 hours after Jammeh announced on state television he was ceding power to the newly inaugurated Adama Barrow, in response to mounting international pressure calling for his departure. Though tens of thousands of Gambians had fled the country during his rule, Jammeh supporters flocked to the airport to see him walk the red carpet to his plane. Jammeh landed in Guinea an hour later and members of his family emerged from the plane, though the country might not be his final destination.
The political standoff in Gambia intensified on Thursday as foreign troops crossed the border with orders to dislodge a repressive leader who has refused to step down after losing a presidential election last month. Gambia’s erratic leader, Yahya Jammeh, seized power in a coup 22 years ago and once said he could rule for a billion years. But on Thursday the Senegalese military headed toward the capital of Gambia, Banjul, where Mr. Jammeh has been holed up in the state house, insisting that his rule is still valid. Mr. Jammeh has warned that he will fight back against any foreign military intervention. At least 26,000 Gambians, worried about violence, have fled the country, the United Nations says, and several senior officials in Mr. Jammeh’s government have resigned in protest or have left the nation as well.
The Gambia: President’s Term Running Out, Gambia Shudders as He Refuses to Quit | The New York Times
President Yahya Jammeh once predicted that his rule could last a billion years. Now, the fate of his nation is hanging on one more anxiety-filled day. After acknowledging defeat in an election last month, Mr. Jammeh abruptly changed his mind, refusing to step aside for the inauguration of the new president scheduled for Thursday and threatening to drag the nation into a bloody standoff. Mr. Jammeh, who has long been criticized for human rights abuses and grandiose claims like being able to cure AIDS with little more than prayer and a banana, has insisted on a do-over election. He declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, warning the nation not to engage in any “acts of disobedience.” West African nations are preparing to enter the country and force Mr. Jammeh’s ouster if he does not leave. In response, Mr. Jammeh has threatened that his own military is prepared to defend Gambia’s sovereignty.
The top judge in Gambia’s Supreme Court declined on Monday to rule on President Yahya Jammeh’s petition to overturn his election defeat, as many Gambians wait nervously to see how the veteran leader will react to his rival’s planned inauguration this week. Jammeh initially conceded defeat to opposition leader Adama Barrow following the Dec. 1 poll but later changed his mind, drawing widespread condemnation and the threat of a military intervention by regional neighbours. Whether Gambia succeeds in swearing in Barrow is viewed as a test for democracy in West Africa, a region which is seeking to draw a line under a history of coups and autocratic rule.
Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow has left the country for neighboring Senegal, a coalition member and local media said on Sunday, a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside. Barrow, a former real estate agent, won a Dec. 1 election in the former British colony by a slim margin. Long-ruling Jammeh conceded defeat but then changed his mind, plunging one of West Africa’s tourist hot spots into crisis and dimming hopes for democracy in a region accustomed to coups and autocratic rule. Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on Jan. 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results. “He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilizing the whole country for that,” said Isatou Toure, a member of Barrow’s coalition.
The political party of Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, who lost an election last month but has refused to accept his defeat, filed a request for an injunction with the Supreme Court on Thursday aimed at blocking the swearing in of his rival. The question of whether Gambia can install opposition figure Adama Barrow as president is seen as a test case for African democracy in a region accustomed to coups and autocratic rule. Barrow, who won the poll and has received the support of the international community, has said he will go ahead with his inauguration on Dec. 19 despite Jammeh’s rejection of the result. Supreme Court Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, confirmed receipt of the petition, which was filed by Edward Gomez, a lawyer for Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has said he will not step down before a Supreme Court decision on disputed elections, a ruling now not expected until May. In a nationwide TV broadcast, the longstanding ruler also reiterated his concern at “foreign interference”. Regional mediators, led by Nigeria’s president, are expected in The Gambia on Friday to urge him to accept defeat following December’s election. President-elect Adama Barrow says he will be inaugurated next week. Mr Jammeh, who initially accepted defeat in the 1 December poll, lodged a case before the Supreme Court after the electoral commission changed some results. But the commission insists the outcome was not affected by an initial error and property developer Mr Barrow narrowly won.
The Supreme Court of Gambia cannot rule on President Yahya Jammeh’s challenge against his electoral defeat until May, according to its chief justice. The ruling casts further doubt on whether a peaceful political transition will happen next week as scheduled. The West African country has been thrust into a political crisis following a December 1 presidential vote, which saw longtime ruler Jammeh losing to opposition leader Adama Barrow. Jammeh initially conceded defeat but later reversed his position, lodging a legal case aimed at annulling the result and triggering new elections. Barrow, a former real estate agent, is scheduled to take office on January 19.
Gambia’s Supreme Court cannot rule for several months on President Yahya Jammeh’s challenge against his electoral defeat last month due to a lack of judges, the court’s chief justice said Tuesday. “We can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court,” Emmanuel Fagbenle said, pointing out that the extra judges needed to hear the case were not available. The Gambia relies on foreign judges, notably from Nigeria, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny west African state.
The outlook for Gambia seemed so bright just a few weeks ago. It is the smallest country in West Africa, and in recent years has perhaps been best known for the whims and abuses of its long-ruling dictator, Yahya Jammeh. Since taking power in a military coup, in 1994, Jammeh has been accused of targeting Gambian journalists critical of his government, some of whom have been arrested and killed, and of engineering the disappearance of other critics and activists. He has lashed out against homosexuality, promising to execute gays and lesbians; critics charge him with using the death penalty as a culling tool for political opponents, as well as executing people found guilty of crimes like drug possession. Usually dressed in a flowing white robe and matching stiff cap, carrying a walking stick, Jammeh has overseen Gambia as though he were the chief of a kingdom meant to cater to his needs and desires. Past Presidential elections have been marred by fraud. So when the election came around on December 1st, observers expected more of the same: Jammeh winning by a landslide through a dubious count. But he lost. And, even more stunningly, he conceded.
The Gambia’s army chief pledged his loyalty on Wednesday to President Yahya Jammeh, who has refused to accept defeat in last month’s election and faces the possibility of regional military intervention to enforce the result of the vote. Jammeh initially accepted his loss in the Dec. 1 election but a week later reversed his position, vowing to hang onto power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation. West African regional bloc ECOWAS has placed standby forces on alert in case Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on Jan. 19. Jammeh has called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war“. “May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces,” General Ousman Badjie wrote in a letter to Jammeh published in a pro-government newspaper.
The head of Gambia’s electoral commission has fled to Senegal due to threats to his safety after declaring that President Yahya Jammeh lost last month’s election, a defeat the ruler has refused to accept. Alieu Momarr Njai left the country on Friday, family members said on Tuesday. He had declared opposition leader Adama Barrow the winner of the Dec. 1 election, stunning many Gambians who were used to Jammeh who took power in a coup in 1994 and whose government gained a reputation for torturing and killing perceived opponents.
Gambia’s political opposition said Monday that longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh could be considered a rebel leader if he takes up arms and doesn’t step down later this month, a firm warning issued after the president recently vowed that any presence of foreign troops in the tiny West African nation would be tantamount to an act of war. Two days earlier, Jammeh railed against the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS that has urged him to step down. Jammeh claims that numerous voting irregularities invalidate the Dec. 1 ballot won by opposition coalition’s Adama Barrow, and Jammeh’s party is challenging the results in court. Meanwhile, Barrow says he is planning a Jan. 19 inauguration, which puts him on a collision course with Jammeh, who seized power in a bloodless 1994 military coup.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said a standoff with neighboring West African states over his refusal to step aside after losing December’s election will escalate into war if the alliance doesn’t back down from its stance. Speaking in a televised New Year’s address, Jammeh said a vow by the Economic Community of West African States to take “all necessary actions” to enforce the Dec. 2 election results violates a principle of “non-interference” and is “in effect a declaration of war.” He said the stance would disqualify member countries from brokering any mediation between the president and opposition leader Adama Barrow, who was declared the election winner.
The Gambia’s electoral commission building reopened on Thursday as the president said it had been shut for safety reasons rather than because of the country’s disputed presidential vote result. President Yahya Jammeh’s political party has lodged a legal complaint against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) triggered in part by a vote recount in the days following a December 1 election, which ultimately confirmed opponent Adama Barrow’s victory, 22 years after Jammeh took power. The commission buiding was sealed off without warning by security forces on December 13, the same day the complaint to have the result annulled was lodged.
The headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission is still occupied by personnel of the Police Intervention Unit. No one has been seen entering or leaving the premises. The reason why the IEC headquarters is being close is still not known to both the staff and the public as a whole but the fact remains that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is still on the same storyline as the previous days, that is it is under tight security and the watchful eyes of the PIU personnel. When this Foroyaa reporter got there on Tuesday 27th December, she observed that the premises was as quiet as a grave yard, with no one seen in the premises except some PIU personnel who seized the entire place, allowing no one to enter.
The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow has called on long-serving ruler Yahya Jammeh to give up power peacefully, like former colonial power Britain did in 1965. Mr Barrow, a property developer, said he did not want to lead a nation that was not at “peace with itself”. Mr Jammeh initially accepted defeat in the 1 December poll but then launched court action to annul the result. The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence.
Gambia’s president has reiterated he will not step down despite losing the December 1 election, as West African leaders and Western powers urge him to hand over power peacefully. Yahya Jammeh initially conceded defeat on state television after 22 years in power, but a week later, reversed his position, denouncing the election results and demanding a new vote. “Unless the court decides the case, there will be no inauguration on January 19,” Jammeh said on Tuesday. His political party has lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court to overturn the December 1 vote result. Last week, Gambian troops took over the Independent Electoral Commission office in the capital, Banjul, and instructed its chairman to leave while barring other employees from entering.
Gambia’s president-elect says he is ready to take office in January despite the refusal by the West African country’s longtime ruler to accept his election loss. “On the day his term expires, my term as the lawful president of the Gambia begins,” Adama Barrow said in a statement late Sunday. “This is the law of the land. My status as incoming president has unquestionable constitutional legitimacy.” President Yahya Jammeh, who at first surprised Gambians by conceding defeat after 22 years in power, a week later announced that he had changed his mind. He alleges voting irregularities that make the December 1 ballot invalid.
West African leaders promised Saturday to enforce the results of a Gambian election that was won by a little-known businessman backed by an opposition coalition but rejected by the country’s longtime coup leader. A summit of the Economic Community of West African States ended with all leaders stating they will attend the Jan. 19 inauguration of Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow. They also pledged to “guarantee the safety and protection of the president-elect,” who has said he fears for his life. Gambian President Yahya Jammeh surprised his fellow citizens by conceding defeat the day after the Dec. 1 vote, and then changed his mind and called for a new election. The United Nations, the United States and the African Union have all condemned the move.
Yahya Jammeh, the autocratic ruler of the Gambia, has moved to resist his presidential election defeat, sending armed soldiers to take control of the electoral commission headquarters and filing a petition to the supreme court as a delegation of African leaders urged him to stand down. The petition said the electoral commission had “failed to properly collate the results” of the election, which Jammeh lost to challenger Adama Barrow. It came after the president of the electoral commission was thrown out of his office shortly before the leaders’ delegation arrived in the country.
One of the gentler techniques that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has used to stay in power for the last 22 years is sacking his staff members seemingly at random, before any of them could conspire against him. From cabinet ministers to diplomats to army chiefs, it wasn’t unusual to serve just months or even weeks in office before getting the bullet — hopefully in the metaphorical sense. But as Jammeh tries to wiggle out of a resounding defeat in this month’s presidential election, the habit of keeping his government in a permanent state of reshuffle has come back to haunt him. Two weeks after he conceded defeat to Adama Barrow, a property developer who once worked as a security guard in Britain, the president had a sudden change of heart, vowing to challenge the election result before the country’s Supreme Court. But Jammeh had sacked so many Supreme Court justices over the last year that the body is legally unable to hear the case unless he appoints four new justices. And as the Gambia Bar Association pointed out in a Dec. 12 statement: “Any Supreme Court empanelled by the outgoing President Jammeh for the purpose of hearing his election petition would be fundamentally tainted.”
Gambia’s ruling party pressed for a fresh presidential election on Tuesday as West African regional mediators intervened to try to resolve a mounting political crisis in the tiny country that voted its leader of 22 years out of power less than two weeks ago. A petition signed by the secretary-general of President Yahya Jammeh’s party on Tuesday demanded a new vote with a revalidated voter registry. The document, which was also signed by a notary public and seen by The Associated Press, says the election was not conducted fairly or in good faith and therefore should be invalidated. Jammeh initially acknowledged defeat, even calling the December 1 election fair and conceding to President-elect Adama Barrow in a telephone call broadcast on state television. But he announced last week that he was rejecting the election results.
The president-elect of the Gambia has demanded that Yahya Jammeh step down immediately, as African leaders prepared to fly in and persuade the country’s autocratic leader to reconsider his refusal to accept defeat and resign. After 22 years in power in the west African nation, it came as a surprise to many when Jammeh, an autocratic leader who had said he would rule for “a billion years if Allah willed it”, accepted defeat in a televised call to Adama Barrow, the leader of the opposition coalition. However, a week later he declared that the vote was “fraudulent and unacceptable” and vowed to take the matter to the country’s supreme court. Barrow and his coalition said Jammeh’s plans were “illegal” and he should resign. Barrow said he was relying on four senior African presidents due to arrive in the country on Tuesday to persuade Jammeh to reverse his pledge to nullify the election and retain power.