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Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Gambia President elect, Adama Barrow, center, sits during a meeting with Ecowas delegation in Banjul, Gambia, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. (AP)
This week’s snapshot focuses on long-time Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s rejection of the election results removing him from power and the ensuing political crisis. Jammeh has ruled for 22 years since his successful 1994 military coup, frequently punishing political dissidents. Amid fears of his rejection of the 01DEC16 election results, Jammeh promised to handover the reigns to president-elect Adama Barrow. A week after conceding defeat, Jammeh declared he no longer accepted the results, upending hopes for a peaceful political transition. He cited “unacceptable errors” and warned Gambian citizens not to protest his most recent decision. Diplomats in Gambia believe Jammeh waited a week because he became overly confident in his popularity before the vote and needed time to devise a strategy to fight the results once it was revealed he had lost. Initially, Jammeh called for a repeat of the election, and later boasted that the matter would be handled through the Gambian judiciary system, over which Jammeh holds tremendous influence. The United States, as well as the United Nations, criticized Jammeh’s call for fresh elections. Regional leaders have been especially critical, with ECOWAS vowing “to take all necessary action to enforce the results” of the 01DEC16 election if Jammeh refuses to step aside when his term expires in January.
News summary of events during the week of 05DEC16 – 19DEC16
Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the political crisis in Gambia
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the political crisis in Gambia
Alex Vines, Research Director of Africa Program, Chatham House
“I think what is behind all this is that President Jammeh last Friday got scared, because there had been media reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Barrow was considering judicial processes against President Jammeh.”
Babacar Justin Ndiaye, Political Analyst
“It’s a strategy of giving him time, making the situation worse, wearing down the international community and finally to look for some sort of compromise, an arrangement.”
Babatunde Olugboji, Deputy Program Director, Human Rights Watch
“The international community, notably [regional bloc] Ecowas and the African Union, should loudly protest any unlawful attempt to subvert the will of the Gambian people.”
Kamissa Camara, Founder, Sahel Strategy Forum
“Winners are those who can unite various forces that in the past have pursued their own, separate interests and split the vote. Outcomes such as the one we’re seeing today in Gambia will definitely send the signal that elections are not for nothing.”
Sabrina Mahtani, West Africa Researcher, Amnesty International
“President Jammeh’s rejection of the election results and his statement that he will not tolerate protest risks leading to instability and possible repression.”
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the political crisis in Gambia
Media: The Independent (UK)
Byline: Samuel Osborne
Date: 11 December 2016
The election results threaten to end Mr Jammeh’s 22 years of autocratic rule.
Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has said he will challenge the results of last week’s election, in which a shock opposition victory threatened to end 22 years of autocratic rule.
Celebrations erupted across the tiny West African nation last week when Mr Jammeh unexpectedly conceded defeat after the elections commission announced the victory of opposition candidate Adama Barrow.
Media: Voice of America
Date: 12 December 2016
West African leaders will travel to Gambia on Tuesday in an effort to convince longtime President Yahya Jammeh to step down after his loss in the December 1 election.
Jammeh initially conceded defeat to election winner Adama Barrow but withdrew his concession late Friday, saying “unacceptable errors” were found by election officials.
Media: New York Times
Byline: DIONNE SEARCEY and JAIME YAYA BARRY
Date: 13 December 2016
DAKAR, Senegal — The fate of the presidency in Gambia took a peculiar turn Friday night when the longtime incumbent appeared on state television to announce that he was rejecting the results of last week’s vote that ousted him. He also called for new elections.
Seated in front of microphones and between two flags, President Yahya Jammeh rattled off accusations of voter irregularities, from transposed numbers in tabulations to missing numbers that he said left in question the results of the election that handed the presidency to Adama Barrow.
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 16 December 2016
The UN has stopped The Gambia’s controversial army chief from visiting troops serving as peacekeepers in Darfur, as international pressure grows on Gambian top brass to accept incoming president-elect Adama Barrow.
Gambian security forces seized the country’s Independent Electoral Commission on Tuesday, drawing international condemnation in the context of a contested presidential election held on December 1.
President Yahya Jammeh, who initially conceded defeat, has now lodged a Supreme Court case to challenge the result.
Media: Associated Press
Date: 19 December 2016
DAKAR, Senegal – Gambia’s president-elect says he is ready to take office in January despite the refusal by the West African country’s longtime ruler to accept his election loss.
“On the day his term expires, my term as the lawful president of the Gambia begins,” Adama Barrow said in a statement late Sunday. “This is the law of the land. My status as incoming president has unquestionable constitutional legitimacy.”
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