Gambia had Presidential elections on 1 December 2016, in which the sitting Gambian President Yahya Jammeh got defeated. He has been the President for over 22 years now and sought re-election this time.
Many international monitors have claimed that there was a major blackout of communications during the elections, which hindered the flow of expression between the citizens. It also relates to the fact that President Jammeh’s term in office has been highly repressive. Amnesty International West and Central Africa Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Samira Daoud said, “This is an unjustified and crude attack on the right to freedom of expression in Gambia, with mobile internet services and text messaging cut off on polling day. Shutting down these communication networks shatters the illusion of freedom that had emerged during the two weeks period of the electoral campaign when restrictions appeared to have been eased. This alarming move suggests a return to repression and censorship that has been the hallmark of President Jammeh’s 22-year rule.”
Nevertheless, on 2 December 2016, the results were announced and President Jammeh was defeated, a result which he has rejected. Won by opposition leader Adama Barrow, President Jammeh has asked for fresh elections on the fate of his presidency, which is clear that he was not accepted by the people of Gambia after two decades of rule. He said, “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process.”
Opposition leaders have also called for the execution of President Jammeh and investigation into his period in which rapes and torture was a norm. In the capital Banjul, police and soldiers have already started to place sandbags in strategic locations, giving a sight of a re-election that may turn ugly if President Jammeh does not steps down from his seat.