The Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, has conceded defeat in a move described as ‘honourable and unprecedented’ by the Chairman of the Interim Electoral Commission.
Jammeh was defeated by opposition leader Adama Barrow by 50,000 votes.
The final results are as follows:
Adama Barrow – 260,515
Yaya Jammeh – 212,099
Mama Kandeh – 102, 969
Invalid votes – 0.
Jammeh, who has been in power in the tiny West African country for some 20 years had earlier stopped the Commissioner from announcing the final results and indicated that he wanted to make an announcement.
The Commissioner, Alieu Momarr Njai told the BBC correspondent in the Gambian capital Banjul, Umaru Fofana in an interview monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com in Accra, that the brutal dictator was going to concede defeat.
Jammeh himself hasn’t been heard yet.
Jammeh cut all telephone lines and blocked social media in the country, only those with access to satellite phones can reach the outside world. The links have since been restored, some reports picked on social media say.
Only a handful of foreign electoral observers are in the country, reportedly, only eight from the African Union. The Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) observers were refused accreditation on the excuse that they applied too late. The Gambia is a member of the ECOWAS.
Jammeh has hounded and hunted opposition figures out of the country into exile and put so many of the citizens into jail.
It is estimated that some 67 per cent of all highly educated Gambians are living in exile and some 80,000 young people have fled the country and made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.
One Gambian journalist who has been living in exile in Dakar, Senegal for 15 years indicated his readiness to finally return home in a Facebook post.
Gambians in the diaspora are already celebrating Jammeh’s defeat on social media.
The country with a population of two million gained independence from Great Britain in 1965, and has only known two leaders, Sir Dawda Jawara, who Jammeh overthrew in a military coup 22 years ago.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi