We are here to reveal one of the biggest stories in the month of September, which has not been reported by Gambia’s local and international press. This is largely due to Jammeh’s manipulation of information in the country. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the State are hiding the story from the public. They want to avoid an opposition outcry before the December, 1st, elections. This is what actually transpired: When the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission Alieu Mamar Njai, made a bold statement on September, 6th, 2016 admitting that elections are usually rigged in some parts of the African continent, while assuring Gambians that nothing of such nature will occur under his watch as the IEC Chairman, little did Gambians know that Mr. Njai’s statement angered his employer dictator Yahya Jammeh, this medium can report. Mr. Njai was summoned by the NIA immediately after delivering his maiden pre- election speech to clarify what he meant by saying that elections are rigged in some parts of the continent. Mr. Njai’s invitation to the NIA was treated in strict confidence, and secrecy, but unimpeachable sources at the NIA Analysis Division said the IEC Chairman was indeed grilled by the agency, following what was considered by Jammeh as “Njai’s despicable speech.”
The NIAS were instructed by Yahya Jammeh to summon the IEC Chairman for questioning. Mr. Njai spent hours clarifying what the agency called “some of the negative connotations” associated with his speech, especially in regards to Njai’s claims that elections are usually rigged in some parts of the African continent. Jammeh felt that Njai’s statement had some far reaching national security ramifications and as such he asked the NIA to caution the IEC Chairman to be mindful of his public statements.
This was what the IEC Chairman said at a press conference held at the IEC Headquarters: “We all know that there are winners and losers in every election. The stakes may be high, and temptation may be great to ensure victory through illegal or morally questionable means in some countries. Election results may be rigged to predetermine who will win or lose, and election may be disrupted, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the process, but I stand here today to pronounce to you that, as far as our concerted efforts are in play, this will never be the case in our dear country. The Independent Electoral Commission believes that an election without integrity subverts the purpose of a democratic election, and cannot be considered fair and equitable. The IEC will ever concentrate on conducting free and fair elections. This, I believe we will ever achieve by upholding governing principles such as: respect for principles of electoral democracy; ethical conduct; accuracy and transparency. Please note that these governing principles guarantee free and fair elections as essential conditions for election uprightness. A free election on one hand depends on freedom of speech, assembly, association and movement, and freedom from fear. A fair election on the other hand depends on transparent electoral process, equitable electoral legislation and systems, equal opportunities for all participants, an independent and impartial elections commission, and absence of intimidation, proper procedures, and acceptance of the electoral results. Therefore, I wish to appeal to all stakeholders to avoid violence of any sort and make this election violent free.”
A source who earlier reached us said: “Pa, please the IEC Chairman. I was informed that he was picked up by the NIA, after he made that speech that elections are rigged in other countries, but not under his watch. He was later released after the NIA questioned him.”
The IEC Chairman could not be reached for immediate comment. But sources at the NIA said Mr. Njai was interrogated shortly after his press conference.