NEWS

Gambia's Jammeh Makes Sudden U-Turn Refuses To Go

Jammeh announced on Friday that he would no longer accept defeat, a development  viewed by many as likely to plunge Gambia into turmoil.

10/12/2016 10:39 SAST | Updated 10/12/2016 10:48 SAST
REUTERS
Gambia's President Yahya Jammehas ruled the country for at least 22 years.

Footage of Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh refusing to step down after initially conceding defeat in the west African country's elections last week has gone viral on social media.

Jammeh announced on Friday that he would no longer accept defeat, a development viewed by many as likely to plunge Gambia into turmoil.

"I accepted the results then, believing that what was presented was the will of you the Gambian people... I made it clear that I will never cheat in anything... In the same way also, I will never accept being cheated by anyone," Jammeh said.

On December 2, Jammeh made a magnanimous concession speech on television and promised – to general surprise – a peaceful and swift handover of power to president-elect Barrow, sparking celebrations in the country.

But on Friday, he pointed to errors which awarded victory to his opponent Adama Barrow with a slimmer margin than initially announced, claiming that numerous voters had not been able to cast their ballots.

"This is the most dubious election we ever had in the history of this country," he said.

"We will go back to the polls because we want to make sure every Gambian votes under an electoral commission that is impartial, independent, neutral and free from foreign influence," said Jammeh.

The Gambian leader has ruled the country for at least 22 years.

His announcement was broadcast on state television.

Meanwhile, social media was abuzz on Saturday as Gambians reacted angrily to Jammeh's sudden U-turn.