Gambia’s historic elections: the aftermath
Gambia’s polls closed at 5pm throughout the 1,422 polling stations in 53 constituencies, within the seven administrative regions of Ghana. The elections were held amid a contentious political environment and ban on all forms of local and international communication.
Polls opened early in the small West African nation with a total of over 880, 000 Gambians registered to vote out of 1.5 million people in the small west African nation.
Opposition leader Adama Barrow scored a symbolic victory in the capital Banjul, signaling a strong challenge posed to Jammeh, who is standing for a fifth term and has never lost in the capital.
The Electoral Commission revealed that Barrow won nearly 50 percent of the votes in Banjul’s three constituencies, formerly won by incumbent, Jammeh in past elections.
Jammeh trailed behind with 43 percent, while third party candidate Mamma Kandeh also known as the “spoiler” took 7.6 percent.
Barrow beamed with renewed confidence when asked by journalists of his expectations on the outcome of the elections.
“I am confident that I will win. There is no way we are going to lose. With the support we have and the change Gambians need, there is no way I will lose” he said.
Incumbent President Yahya Jammeh who has ruled the West African nation since 1994 is facing perhaps the biggest political challenge and most consequential elections in his 22 years in power.
According to sources, Jammeh is reportedly alarmed at the course the election is taking, and is scrambling to make sure he retains power through any means necessary.
This year’s general elections comes at a time where Gambians are collectively calling for change and exercising their right to vote without fear of the country’s long term ruler, giving hope to citizens that change may happen in their country after 22 years.