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STATEMENT BY THE INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA ON THE ANNULMENT OF RESULTS OF THE GAMBIA’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BY THE OUT-GOING PRESIDENT ON 9 DECEMBER 2016 On 1 December 2016,
Gambians went to the polls and voted in the country’s Presidential Election. On 2 December 2016, the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of The Gambia announced that the independent candidate Mr Adama Barrow had won the election. The out-going President Yahya Jammeh conceded defeated on State media on the same day.
One week after conceding defeat, the incumbent went on State media and annulled the election, calling for the constitution of a new IEC and holding of new election.
Noting that Gambia has ratified the ECOWAS “Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security”, of which Article 9 demands that all candidates who lose in State elections shall concede defeat and hand-over power to the candidate declared winner;
Mindful of fact that Gambia has signed the “African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance”, which requires States to adhere to “the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights”, and to hold “regular free and fair elections to institutionalize legitimate authority of representative government as well as democratic change of governments”;
Considering that Chapter V, Part 3(6) of the Constitution of The Gambia allows for candidates of Presidential Election to contest the results by petitioning the Supreme Court within ten (10) days from declaration of results;
Noting that out-going President Jammeh unilaterally went ahead and annulled the election, instead of complying with the above Constitutional provision;
We call on the outgoing President Jammeh to recognize and respect the will of Gambians freely expressed through the ballot box, and to take measures to ensure a smooth and peaceful transfer of power to President-Elect Mr Adama Barrow. We further urge President Jammeh to uphold the values of peace and human rights; to act towards the best interest of Gambians, as enshrined in the Constitution of The Gambia, and to comply with all relevant provisions of The Gambia’s Constitution, as well as regional and international human rights commitments of The Gambia.