Property developer Adama Barrow, a sole candidate for the opposition parties in the presidential election in the Gambia has won the election, ending President Yahya Jammeh`s 22 years in power.
Mr Barrow won Thursday’s election with 45.5% of the vote, while President Jammeh took 36.7% of the vote; the third-party candidate, Mama Kandeh, won just 17.8%. Significantly, president Jammeh has conceded defeat and congratulated the winner, Adama Barrow. Furthermore, the incumbent president vowed not to contest the results and invited the new president to discuss the transition. “I should take the backseat”. President Jammeh promised statesmanlike.
Mr Barrow, who has never held any political post has promised that his election will herald a new hope for the country. He went further to assure all that he will revive the country’s struggling economy, look at imposing a two-term presidential limit and reverse certain controversial decisions made by Jammeh. Amongst them, the decision of the Jammeh`s administration to make the country an Islamic state as well as to pull the country out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Even though president Jammeh has vowed to respect the election results and step down, some are still sceptical about his promise – especially having in mind that many have accused Jammeh of human rights abuses and dictatorial tendencies, aimed at hanging on to power, 22 years after taking over power from President Jawara in a bloodless coup. For someone who vowed to stay in power for 1 billion years, “if Allah permits,“ there is enough ground for people to doubt Jammeh`s sincerity and willingness to leave the political scene. However, despite the fact that the unseating of an incumbent president is quite an unusual political process in Africa, recently, former president Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria has gallantly shown the world the new level of maturity in the African political scene. This, President Jonathan did willingly and patriotically by conceding election defeat in the hands of Muhammadu Buhari, and thereby sowing the seed of statesmanship and political maturity and rule of law, which other African leaders must emulate.
The question is: Is President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia following the respectful and peaceful journey former president Jonathan has followed? Or is Yahya Jammeh trying some kind of political abracadabra aimed at his political survival?
Definitely, if President Yahya Jammeh chooses the mature journey and decides to take an honourable exit for the peace of the country, he will have written his name and legacy in the respected book of history.