The man who oversaw the last presidential elections in the Gambia has reportedly fled the country following death threats on his life. Local media portals say his family confirmed that he was no longer in the Gambia but would also not disclose his location.
Alieu Momar Njai, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had earlier vowed to defend the validity of the results he declared on December 2 last year. He was forced out of his office by security officials on December 13.
Momar Njai has previously been defiant after President Yahya Jammeh’s questioned the validity of the election result, which he lost to opposition coalition candidate, Adama Barrow. Njai said the ruling party was likely to lose any poll petition arising from the elections.
If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast. The election results were correct, nothing will change that.
“If it goes to court, we can prove every vote cast. The election results were correct, nothing will change that,” he told Reuters weeks back.
Jammeh’s refusal of the results largely rests on the IEC’s amendment of declared results five days after Barrow had been announced as president-elect. Of the two sets of results, the earlier one announced 24 hours after the polls showed a wide gap between Jammeh and Barrow. An amended one however showed a closer margin between the two.
The original results were as follows:
Adama Barrow won 263,515 votes (45.5%)
President Jammeh took 212,099 (36.7%)
A third party candidate, 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%)
The electoral offices were seized on the day that Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation was meeting with Jammeh and Barrow in Banjul. No reasons were given at the time.
The premises was however vacated by the security recently with the government ordering employees of the IEC to go back to work. They cited an imminent plot to burn down the building as reason for the ‘occupation.’
Meanwhile, the country’s Chief Justice has slated December 10 for the first hearing of an election petition filed by Jammeh’s party. This was after judges were imported in order to constitute a court panel. The hearing is nine days away from the investiture of Barrow – an event ECOWAS leaders have promised to honor.