Gambia to Reopen Electoral Headquarters Amid Presidential CrisisBy
West African nation assures citizens country is safe, peaceful
IEC headquarters to reopen with visible security presence
Gambia’s government assured its citizens that the country is safe and reopened the electoral headquarters in an attempt to ease a crisis caused by the rejection of poll results by President Yahya Jammeh.
In a statement broadcast by the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services on Wednesday, the presidency assured citizens that the country remains stable and peaceful and that there’s no reason to worry. People should continue to go about their daily business “in the normal way,” it said.
A risk that the Independent Electoral Commission’s headquarters would be burned down due to dissatisfaction with the presidential poll result has been abated and staff can return to work, according to the GRTS. There will be “a visible security presence around the compound,” it said.
Jammeh said On Dec. 21 that he will refuse a request from regional leaders to step down after losing this month’s election to opposition leader Adama Barrow, describing the intervention by neighboring heads of state as unacceptable interference. Jammeh, in power since 1994, initially conceded defeat following the Dec. 1 election, only to make an about-turn one week later, citing voting irregularities.
Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States pledged to take all the necessary measures to ensure that Barrow’s victory stands and undertook to attend his inauguration in January when the incumbent’s term expires. Jammeh will only accept the establishment of a new electoral commission to conduct fresh elections, he said.