Senegal: IHRDA calls on Gambia's Jammeh to ensure peaceful transfer of power

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) has called on Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to take measures and ensure a ''smooth and peaceful transfer of power'' to president-elect Adama Barrow.

In a statement obtained by PANA in Dakar, Senegal, on Wednesday, the human rights body disclosed that Gambians went to polls on 1 December and Barrow was declared winner by the country's electoral body on 2 December with outgoing President Jammeh conceding defeat the same day.

It said one week after conceding defeat, the incumbent went on state media and annulled the election, calling for the constitution of a new electoral body and holding of new election.

''We call on the outgoing President Jammeh to recognize and respect the will of Gambians freely expressed through the ballot box, and to take measures to ensure a smooth and peaceful transfer of power to Mr Adama Barrow.''

''We further urge President Jammeh to uphold the values of peace and human rights; to act towards the best interest of Gambians, as enshrined in the constitution of The Gambia, and to comply with all relevant provisions of The Gambia’s constitution, as well as regional and international human rights commitments,'' the statement added.

The human rights body noted that Gambia has ratified the ECOWAS ''Protocol A/SP1/12/01 on Democracy and Good Governance Supplementary to the Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security'', of which Article 9 demands that all candidates who lose in state elections shall concede defeat and hand over power to the candidate declared winner.

The statement went on to cite that Gambia has signed the ''African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance'', which requires states to adhere to ''the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights,'' and to hold ''regular free and fair elections to institutionalize legitimate authority of representative government, as well as democratic change of governments.''

IHRDA also cited relevant constitutional provisions of the Gambia, saying it allowed for
candidates of Presidential Election to contest the results by petitioning the Supreme Court within ten (10) days from declaration of results.

The human rights body said, however, that out-going President Jammeh unilaterally went ahead and annulled the election, instead of complying with the above constitutional provision.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 14Dec2016

14 december 2016 16:02:09

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