Gambian president Yahya Jammeh has emphasized that he will not leave power except if it is the true will of the Gambian people.
In his first public pronouncement since the December 9 annulment and order of poll rerun, Jammeh also hit out at the regional mediators of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He said despite not reaching an agreement with him during their recent mediation effort to the Gambia, they went ahead to meet in Abuja with the view to stand by the December 1 poll results.
Jammeh was speaking with members of the African Bar Association who paid him a visit in Banjul. The almost 45 minutes interview was posted on Youtube on December 20.
“The interesting thing, the ECOWAS team came here and I explained to them, gave them the documents to that effect and why I decided to reverse my earlier acceptance to non acceptance based on the facts.
“I will not cheat but I will not be cheated. Justice must be done and the only way justice can be done is to reorganize elections … ECOWAS came here and in fact there is one sacrosanct principle of the ECOWAS charter that is the non interference in the internal affairs of member states, which in this case has been violated,” Jammeh protested
“They (ECOWAS) came, they met with me first and went to meet the other side. They came back and said: Well (yes) despite all what you said, the results they announced are the will of the Gambian people,” he continued, “I said how the hell do you know this is the will of the Gambian people.”
He described the meeting in Abuja as a formality where his representative was told that yes, we ECOWAS was of the view that “Jammeh must hand over on the 19th of January. All ECOWAS heads of state will be in Banjul to see the inauguration of the president-elect. ECOWAS, this is violating one rule that says non interference in internal matters of a state.”
Jammeh also stated that he had information to the effect that there are ECOWAS members who disagree with this position taken in Abuja. He charged ECOWAS to enforce the election results for him to see, “what are they waiting for?” he asked before adding, “I will not be intimidated by any power in this world.
“I want to make sure that justice is done, I am a man of peace but I cannot also be a coward. My rights cannot be violated and intimidated to a point where I succumb to blackmail, I will never do that,” Jammeh stressed.
Citing intimidation of supporters of the ruling party and the calculated skewing of electoral regulations to favor the opposition, Jammeh said, “We rejected the results and i reject the results until today.”
“What we are asking for is to go back to the electorate under a completely independent electoral commission that will supervise the elections as we used to do before without having any problems, and allow every Gambian to vote,” he added.
The original results as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) were as follows:
Adama Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%)
President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%)
Mama Kandeh, won 102,969 (17.8%)
The amended results published after the correction:
Adama Barrow won 222,708 votes (43.3%)
President Jammeh took 208,487 (39.6%)
Mama Kandeh, won 89,768 (17.1%)