Gambia’s President Adama Barrow declared winner of presidential election

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 December 2021:

Incumbent president of The Gambia, Adama Barrow was yesterday declared winner of the country’s presidential election by the electoral commission to seal his second term in office, after his failed attempt to undemocratically change the constitution.

With a high turnout at 87%, Barrow polled 53% of the votes against his rival Ousainou Darboe’s 27.7%.

Other opposition candidates – Mama Kandeh who is believed to have the support of exiled former president Yahyah Jammeh came third with 105,892 (12%) and Halifa Sallah polled 32,435 (4%).

Independent candidates Essa Faal and Ablie Jammeh polled 17,206 and 8,252 votes respectively.

But as the opposition parties question the validity of the results and threaten legal action, there is jubilation across the country, especially in the capital Banjul where supporters of Barrow took to the streets to celebrate victory.

There are calls for the country to change its old and outdated method of using marbles to cast votes.

This system was inherited from British colonial rule because of widespread illiteracy in The Gambia. But elections experts say that this method of voting is widely open to fraud and abuse.

Saturday’s election is the first since Yahyah Jammeh was thrown into exile in Equatorial Guinea by ECOMOG troops in January 2017, after refusing to accept presidential election won by Adama Barrow.

Yesterday, former president of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma who is leading the ECOWAS election observation mission in The Gambia spoke ahead of the announcement of the election results and said:  “There will be no winner or loser but only one winner, The Gambian people.”

As Barrow’s supporters danced in the streets last night, he told the people of The Gambia: “I will do all I can and utilise every resource at my disposal to make The Gambia a better place for us all.”

Over 50% of Gambians live on less than two dollars a day, with youth unemployment at over 80%. The country relies heavily on tourism which has been severely hit by the Covid pandemic.

Many of Barrow’s supporters say that his victory is based largely on the use of his power of incumbency and the major development strides he has brought to The Gambia, especially road construction in remote parts of the country.

Others say that Barrow’s Laissez-faire style of government has opened the country’s democratic space.

However, his critics say that poverty has widened since Barrow came to power five years ago and that he is slowly becoming a dictator.

But earlier, opposition leaders had rejected the partial results which gave him an early lead.

“At this stage we reject the results announced so far………. All actions are on table.” the main opposition leader Ousainou Darboe and two other candidates said in a joint statement.

It remains to be seen whether the opposition will accept the results or push the country into chaos, which could push the country backwards.

1 Comment

  1. Is better the devil you know than the one you don’t know. And sometimes some devils are better than other devils. So when it comes to voting patterns, is best to vote with your head than your heart. I think there are one or two lessons we Sierra Leoneans can learn from the Gambians. Though Sierra Leone is a mature democracy, compared to the Gambia, that only tested real democracy, like one man one vote back in 2016/17 since their independence in 1965, suffice to say Sierra leone would have been best placed for other African countries to emulate when it comes to free and fair elections, and abiding by the constitutional arrangements of Presidential term limts. Our real test for our democratic credentials will be put into that test in 2023. Unfortunately, for us is still working in progress. And congratulations to all the Gambians that voted for the incumbent President Adama Barrow,and in the process extended his mandate to remain in the helm for an other five years.

    Depite been in exile in Equatorial Guinea, former despot Yayah Jammeh continues to peddle influence with some sections of the Gambian electorate, by urging them to vote for his candidates of choice, rather than the sitting president Adama Barrow. His diatribes and unhinged bile statements he is making from the safty of exile in Equatorial Guinea, shows he is a man completely cut of from reality. A mid life crisis for a fomer dictator, cut of from his home, and longing to go back. Maybe if he had the sense and show a measure of contrition for his diabolical acts during his twenty two years of dictatorship, maybe Adama Barrow would have pardon him and allow him back in to the country. Then again thanks to the resourceful thinking of the Gambian voters, they are not easily taken in by tribalistic, and name calling gutter politices.

    With a population of 2 million people, and the Gambian territory virtually surrounded by their big brother country Senegal, sometimes if you look at the map, you will be forgiven to think the territory of Gambia is one of the provinces of greater Senegal. This reelection of Adama Barrow, given him 53%percent of the vote, compared to his nearest rival Mr Ousainon Darboe of the United Democratic party, who he was in coalition with back in 2017 that helps bring down Jammeh, and served briefly as his vice president, he secured 28%of the vote. In his acceptance speech Mr Barrow said:”I call on all Gambians in respective of your political divide, to put aside our political and other differences and come together as one people to work towards the development of our country” As our former President Bia Koroma, head of ECOWAS election monitoring group added, there are no winners and loosers in this elections, the peoples of Gambia won. And if the celebration in Banjul and other places around the country was anything to go by, the outcome of those sentiment expressed in the streets of this tiny country says its all. Long may the roots of democracy take firm hold in the African continent.

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