The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has expressed dismay over the takeover of The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) premises by the military.
“He condemns this outrageous act of disrespect of the will of the Gambian people and defiance towards the international community at a time when a high-level Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation was in the country to broker a peaceful transfer of power.
“This action violates the independent status of the IEC under the Gambian constitution, and could compromise the sensitive electoral material under the Commission’s custody,” the statement added.
This action violates the independent status of the IEC under the Gambian constitution, and could compromise the sensitive electoral material under the Commission's custody.
Security officials stormed the IEC’s offices and sacked the head before taking over the premises. The UN chief reiterated his call for a peaceful, timely, and orderly transfer of power, in full respect of the will of the Gambian people.
The United Nations also called on the security forces to “immediately vacate the IEC premises and to refrain from any further acts with the intent to jeopardise efforts towards the peaceful transfer of power.”
Gambians went to the polls on December 1 to elect a new president. Incumbent and outgoing Yahya Jammeh was beaten by coalition candidate Adama Barrow ending Jammeh’s 22 years as president.
Jammeh accepted the results a day after the polls and called to congratulate Barrow as president-elect. A week later, he announced on state television the annulment of the polls citing irregularities.
His party on Tuesday filed processes in the Supreme court to demand the cancellation of the elections. Meanwhile international mediators led by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were in the Gambia to negotiate a way out of the crisis. The four member team however failed to reach a deal after meeting with Jammeh and Barrow in Banjul.