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. “I got there by quarter to eight and when I was going up to my office, one of the cleaners told me they were not allowed in,” Alieu Njie told the Guardian. “I went to my office and a military man came and said I was not allowed to touch anything, so I took my briefcase, got into my car and went home.
“Let’s just hope and pray that now these heads of state are here President Jammeh will decide to step down. The only legal way is for him to step down.”
Making up the most important delegation ever to descend on the Gambia, the presidents of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana flew in on Tuesday to meet Jammeh, who has ruled an increasingly isolated nation for 22 years and last week vowed to stay on despite losing the presidential election.