12th December, 2016.
Initiative for the Promotion of Democracy and Good-governance (IPDG) would like to join the entire Gambian citizenry and the International communities in condemning President Jammeh’s decision to reject the election results in totality and call him to step down and peacefully hand over power to President elect Adama Barrow, contrary to this will tantamount to the violation of rule of law and democratic principles.
The Republic of the Gambia went to polls on December 1, 2016 to decide among the three presidential contestants who they would want to entrust to steer the affairs of their country.
The people of the Gambia were commended by the whole world for their maturity in maintaining peace and harmony during the entire process of voting. At the end of the voting exercise the Independent electoral commission declared Mr. Adama Barrow the Coalition’s Independent Candidate as the winner and president elect with 227, 708, votes The Incumbent Yahya Jammeh had 208,487 votes and Mama Kandeh 89, 768 votes This result was accepted by the incumbent Yahya Jammeh. In the same vein, he called the President elect Adama Barrow to concede defeat and congratulate him as well as promised to work with him to further develop the country. President Jammeh was applauded across the world for his acceptance of the election result in good faith and his loyalty and commitment to The Gambia and Gambian people after being in power for 22 years after a bloodless coup d’état of former President Jawara’s government.
However, after one week of his acceptance, President Jammeh reappeared on the National Television to reject the whole election results and denounced his acceptance and called for a fresh election. President Jammeh did not only base his complaint on the error made and rectified by the IEC official, but he claimed voter apathy in this year’s election amongst other things to justify his action. This did not only put the attention of world on President Jammeh but also make them withdraw their trust and confidence in him.
Further to this, IPDG would like to remind President Jammeh that his recent action is not only contravening the provisions of the 1997 constitution and other election laws of The Gambia that his government enforcing but also flouting the international principles of Democracy election and good governance.
According to the 1997 constitution of the Gambia section 43 (1) “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the Commission Independent Electoral Commission shall be responsible for- (a) the conduct and supervision of the registration of voters for all public elections and the conduct and supervision of all public elections and referenda; (2) The Commission shall announce the results of all elections and referenda for which it is responsible. (3) In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution or any other law, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”
Further to this, we hereby remind the outgoing president Yahya Jammeh once again that he does not have the power and it is not within his mandate to denounce the result of the election or call for a another election. He can only challenge it in a constitutional court within 10 days period as stated by the article 49 of the same constitution which says “Any registered political party which has participated in the election of a President Presidential election or an independent candidate who has participated in such an election may apply to the Supreme Court to determine the validity of the election of a President by filling a petition within ten days of the declaration of the result of the election.
The outgoing President Jammeh is hereby further reminded that The Gambia belongs to International bodies that uphold the principles of respect for human rights, Democracy, and rule of law.
The Articles 2, 5 and 17 of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance guarantee and promote the spirits of free and fair election and democratic and peaceful change of government and handing over of power.
“Article 2 The objectives of this Charter are to: 1. Promote adherence, by each State Party, to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights; 2. Promote and enhance adherence to the principle of the rule of law premised upon the respect for, and the supremacy of, the Constitution and constitutional order in the political arrangements of the State Parties; 3. Promote the holding of regular free and fair elections to institutionalize legitimate authority of representative government as well as democratic change of governments; 4. Prohibit, reject and condemn unconstitutional change of government in any Member State as a serious threat to stability, peace, security and development;
Article 5 State Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure constitutional rule, particularly constitutional transfer of power.
Article 17 State Parties shall:
- ”Ensure that there is a binding code of conduct governing legally recognized political stakeholders, government and other political actors prior, during and after elections. The code shall include a commitment by political stakeholders to accept the results of the election or challenge them in through exclusively legal channels.”
Going by the national and international ethics and laws for upholding the democratic principles and respect for rule of law both in the Gambia and around the world, IPDG strongly condemn the recent statement of the outgoing President Jammeh on the National Television and call on him to further maintain the spirit of loyalty and commitment to the development of our beloved Nation and peacefully hand over power.
The rest of the statements will be published in tomorrow’s edition.