By Kebba Jeffang
The people of The Gambia on Thursday, 1st December, 2016 voted for Adama Barrow in a contested presidential election ending the 22 year regime of Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Barrow was declared winner by the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) midday on Friday after polling 263,515 votes from the electorate.
The outgoing President Yahya Jammeh conceded defeat well before the final result was announced by the electoral body.
In his final result announcement, Alieu Mommar Njie, the Chairman of the IEC said “I Alieu Mommar Njai, returning officer of the presidential election of 1 December, 2016, having received and announced the results of the counting of votes from the assistant returning officers across the 53 constituencies of The Gambia in the presence of the representatives of the 3 contesting candidates hereby wish to give the final results as follows:
“Adama Barrow 263,515 votes, Sheikh professor Alhagie Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babilimansa 212,099 votes, Mamma Kandeh 102,969 votes. Having received 263,515 of the total votes cast in the election I hereby declare Adama Barrow duly elected as the President of the Republic of the Gambia. Dated 2 December, 2016.
“I thank you all for your kind attention.”
Just before declaring the winner, the Chairman said God has answered their prayers because throughout the campaign period, all the candidates were preaching peace, tranquility, tolerance and obedience. That said the individuals and groups were also encouraging people to promote peace and further appealed to the public to continue with that positive trend because there will be a change of government “and the incumbent who has served for 22 years is magnanimous enough to accept well before the announcement is done by me the returning officer that he has lost the election and he will call the new president to congratulate him as well as to maintain the peace and tranquility that we are endowed with in The Gambia. So it is very important that there will be celebrations, there will be disappointments but let’s all know we are a single Gambia. We are all Gambians and we are all interrelated. What we are proud of as the IEC is that we are always saying that our electoral process is second to none in the whole world. It is transparent, accurate, free and fair. Nobody can know who you voted for and people are voting for their choice, that’s why it is very rare for this present situation to happen in Africa.”
He thanked the IEC staff for their commitment before and during the election as well as the UNDP for funding a good number of civic and voter education programmes.