Following the declaration of the final results In the Presidential Elections of 1st. December 2016, the Independent Electoral Commission IEC on the 5th December 2016,issued a Press Release captioned ‘Error in the Total of Final Election Results’.
The IEC stated that when the total votes per region were being tallied, certain figures were inadvertently transposed. Instead of adding the total number of votes polled by Mr. Adama Barrow in the Basse Administrative Area, the IEC added the total number of Ballots cast for Basse Administrative Area to Adama Barrow’s total number of votes thus swelling the number of votes Mr. Barrow polled nationally.
The IEC further intimated that this error was repeated across for the other contesting candidates and concluded by declaring Mr. Adama Barrow duly elected with 227, 708 votes, Sheikh Professor Alhajj Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh 208,487votes and Mamma Kandeh 89,768 votes.
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT JAMMEH ON IEC ERROR ON ELECTION RESULTS
Fellow Gambians and friends of the Gambia and the electorate, you will remember Friday 2nd. December 2016, when I declared to you my acceptance of the results of the elections. I accepted the result then, believing that what was presented was the will of you, the Gambia people, I made it very clear, that will never cheat in anything because I fear the almighty Allah, Subhana Wa t’allah, in the same vein also, I will not accepted being cheated by anybody. I accepted the results in good faith, always putting my faith in Allah. You are all living witnesses to what happened after the acceptance of the results that were announced by the independent electoral commission.
The campaign of terror that went followed; bullying, vandalism, going into people’s homes and insulting them, expression of real tribal hate which does not augur well for a united Gambia.
This Gambia belongs to all of us. There is no country in the world which is composed of one single tribe, and there is no country that is owned by one tribe.
All the inhabitants of that country that almighty Allah put there equally own the county that is why in the case of the Gambia we call it Gambia.
After my acceptance with a lot of doubt but putting my faith and destiny in the hands of Allah. Elections are meant for people to express their democratic right and constructional right to vote for whom they want, without fear or intimidation. In this country we have something we call the IEC, Independent Electoral Commission. The IEC is expected to be independent. From the chairman to all officials of the IEC are supposed to be people that are neutral and god-fearing.
The total registered voters in this country that were all supposed to vote is eight hundred and eight six thousand five hundred and seventy-eight. Out of this number five hundred and twenty-five thousand, six hundred and fifty-nine (525,659) registered voters voted.
The number of registered voters that did not vote in this election is three hundred and sixty thousand, nine hundred and nineteen (360,919) remember on Friday I was wondering why this people did not vote. Now after my acceptance of the results, without any query, the independent electoral commission chairman wrote this document which we got later on during the weekend. The headline bears the wording ‘error in the total of final election results’. Sadly the total number of votes transposed/interchanged was not mentioned, how they rectified it was not mentioned and then with their rectification, they came up with 227, 708 votes for Adama Barrow, 208,487 for myself and 89,768 votes for Mama Kandeh.
It is very clear that Alieu Momar Njie, chairman of the IEC who was also the Returning Officer that they did something which is also unprecedented in elections over the twenty-two years I have been in power.
That is all the parties were called to the IEC, I think it was on Monday to tell them that there were errors and mistakes made which were not from the level of the electorate but at the level of the IEC which were unacceptable mistakes.
On this note I want to make it very clear that in the same vein I accepted faithfully the results believing that the IEC was independent and honest and reliable, I hereby reject the results in totality. Let me repeat I will not accept the results based on what has happened during that week. We have been conducting investigations to get to the bottom of why this large number of people did not vote.
Our investigations revealed that in some cases voters were told that the opposition has already won and there was no need for them to vote. And out of anger they returned home. We also discovered something that has never happened in this country, that every registered voter as was always the case is put on the voters register, this time around interestingly enough voters went to the polling stations where they are supposed to vote with their valid voter cards only to find that the picture on the voter register is correct, the name is correct, the address is correct but interestingly enough, the number of voters card that was put in the register did not tally the one the voter was supposed to use to vote and so they were turned away.
The voter register were compiled by the IEC, independently and the voter cards were also issued by the same IEC. so how is it possible that you go to a polling station with your voters card filing your name and your photograph on the voter register only to be turned away because the number on the voters card did not tally with the one that was on the voter register.
This is a serious anomaly which nobody will accept. Certain areas also especially in CRR our APRC Polling agents were refused entry and in some instances humiliated and kicked out of the voting area by the IEC officials from 8 o’clock in the morning until 1pm in the afternoon. This was the time interventions were made and then our agents were allowed.
Now what happened when my polling agents were not representing me at the polling station? The claim by the IEC is well because all the results were signed by the polling agents, APRC polling agents.
So that is normal that is not normal. What happened to the ballot box? And what were they telling their voters. This is the most dubious elections we have ever had in this country. It is unacceptable and still investigations are continuing and now we know why 360,910 did not vote.
This being the case as I said I hereby announce to you Gambians my total rejection of the election results and thereby annulling the elections in its entirety until we go back to the polls because i want to make sure that every Gambian has voted under an independent electoral commission that is independent, neutral and free from foreign influence.
To the other team, we have seen what has been happening these days, but let me make it clear, the intervention of foreign powers in the country would not change anything. We know that plans were made and are being made for foreign troops to come because you have no confidence in the Gambian soldiers, children of the Gambia, employed and selected across the country.
I made one thing clear and I swore to the almighty Allah and the Quran that the Gambia cannot be colonized twice or enslaved twice and i swear this will not happen in a billion years.
Interestingly, while the IEC made the announcement on the radio and television, no foreign news channel carried out that announcement. Let me repeat it, when IEC made the announcement of the error on both GRTS radio and television, no foreign outlet be it print media or electronic carried that story of the error that was admitted by the IEC.
That is immaterial, what Gambians should now know is what the international press is all about, that is up to them. What is important is the unity of this country. I hereby appeal to all APRC supporters, people that have been insulted, people that have been beaten up because they have been wearing my t-shirt, I do not want revenge.
Allah permits revenge if you are unjustifiably treated but Allah Subuhannah Watallah says he prefers you to forgive because he appreciates people that forgive. I appeal to all of you especially in the provinces where there is outrage, beating people in the farms, going into their houses at night all those that are victims. That was never mentioned by any foreign government even though they have their spies here. They have their agents or any human rights organization. We have many elections here without beating anybody why is it that this time around people have been traumatized for a whole week? This is unacceptable, but all those victims whether you are APRC or the other party, I appeal to you in the name of the almighty Allah and the prophet that we believe in, the prophet peace be upon him. If you are a Christian, Prophet Jesus Christ has always encouraged forgiveness. He even said that if you are slapped on one cheek; give the assailant the other cheek. Nowadays it is very difficult for people to forgive but for the unity, peace and stability of this country, I ask all of you to forgive not only for my shake.
I am appealing to you as your leader because Allah loves people who forgives, fitna (chaos) will not benefit anybody. So until we go back to the polls and work out and how soon we will go remembering that this elections were entirely financed by the Gambia government, it is very expensive, it is the second time we are financing an election on our own because those people believe i am going to win so they are not going to spend their money on elections.
This is also a lesson for all Africans to understand how certain powers work, that they sponsor elections when their sponsored candidate is expected to win. Where they have no hope of winning, they will not sponsor the elections. It is not only for African leaders to understand but is for all Africans to understand what is at stake.
Already certain people have started saying that they will take decision as to which country they will give the oil, our natural resources. Their behaviour is well known to all of you thank god that will not happen until we go to a clean transparent election where nobody will be denied the right to vote where elections will be supervised by god fearing and honest patriotic and god-fearing IEC members.
As I said, once again I forgive what has happened, i don’t want any vengeance, I will not also tolerate any demonstration and the security services of this country are here to maintain law and order in the country.
Elections are not a football match where there is argument as to whether the referee was correct or wrong; the results are final. This is elections where people decide their destiny, and so if the referee is wrong the results could not be final. This being the case, we will go back to the polls. We will re-organize fresh elections and also make sure that everybody is registered and also make sure that all of them are registered before the elections.
We would have to look at the voter register to make sure that what have been done this time will not be done, that is putting correct figures,, photographs of the voter register, the name and the surname and the photograph, only to put in there a number that only they know does not tally with the voters card in the position of this individual. Why did they do that? Only god knows.
That alone is fraudulent and is unacceptable. All Gambians should know that the peace and stability of this country will not be compromised. The unity of this country cannot be negotiated. Whatever had happened, I once again appeal to all of you to forgive, the humiliation you were subjected to, the intimidation, the vandalism, and the insults, remember that after I have accepted defeat, they put on the internet that my mother had died.
I received calls from all over and I was shocked, people called to sympathies with me, and I said if you want you call me another day and even though she does not speak English, you will hear her voice. So many things have been said, indecency which is unacceptable.
They insulted my mother but I will leave them with the almighty Allah. I also appeal to all of you ‘bayi len ak yallah’, leave them with the almighty Allah. Don’t revenge. Do not take revenge, do not avenge for what has happened. I want a peaceful Gambia and I want us to vote next time. I have learnt a great lesson. And I think all of us have seen and learnt a great lesson from what happened. Now we know each other better, i have seen people that were green, all of a sudden turning to yellow, rejoicing and dancing, thank god this has happened for us to see the reality of who we are and where each and every one of us belong.
Time will tell, Allah will judge when we go back to the polls. As a government we will meet and work out and see how soon we can go back to the elections. Depending on the limited resources we have, if we have all the resources, we will call immediate elections but of course we also have an IEC that is not independent so we will have to make sure that the next time we have elections the treachery that happened will not be repeated.
Please do not take revenge, do not avenge because where your rights have been violated is ordained by Allah the almighty but the same almighty Allah prefers forgiveness. Forgive them on my behalf. I have forgiven them for all the nasty things they have said about my mother but let me make it very clear, there will be no repeat of such without consequences.
There will be no repeat of such without serious consequences. So every Gambian go and continue your noble business, no Gambian has a right to attack anybody, violence will not be tolerated, we will not tolerate violence, I wish you all the best, the next time we go to the polls, this is the end of this election chapter.
May the almighty Allah continue to bless this country.