Gambia: Tango Says If Jammeh fails to peacefully hand over power now, the NGO community shall neither recognize nor cooperate with his government

The members of The Association of NGOs in the Gambia (TANGO) which represents civil society as a whole hereby express our unequivocal and unreserved condemnation of the rejection of the result of the December 1 presidential elections by the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh. We wish to urge the outgoing President to respect and abide by the will of the Gambian people, which was clearly expressed in this election, which marked his fifth term of seeking the highest office of the land.

We note with great satisfaction that the IEC this year has made remarkable improvement compared to the previous elections including: equal access to the national television and radio for all contesting candidates, counting on the spot, pasting the results in each pooling station among others.  Moreover the process was very peaceful and orderly from campaign to the declaration of results by the IEC.

We are therefore surprised that the outgoing president would wait until a week after conceding defeat only to reject in totality the results based on reasons we found to be neither significant nor relevant. We strongly agree with the constitutional provision that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is the only institution mandated to call for elections.

We wish to join the Gambia populace and all concerned stakeholders to demand that the outgoing President steps down and hands over power immediately and unconditionally to the President elect Adama Barrow in peace and tranquility. Aside from the legal difficulties associated with the election petition intended by the APRC, TANGO is of the strong view that such an action fundamentally threatens the peace and security of the country as well as our national cohesion. We strongly believe that in the best interest of the country, the outgoing President must hand over power now to de-escalate the uncertainty and anxiety within the country generated by his unconstitutional pronouncement.

We vehemently urge the outgoing President to demonstrate leadership and work assiduously for the maintenance of peace, security, unity and reconciliation of all of our people. Failure to ensure an immediate and peaceful transfer of power, TANGO and its members hereby remind the outgoing president that he bears full responsibility for any unfortunate situation that may arise. Furthermore, if he fails to peacefully hand over power now, the NGO community shall neither recognize nor cooperate with his government, which would be an illegal institution. We would also remind the Secretary General and head of the Civil Service and all public servants as well as members of the Armed and Security Services to exercise maximum restraint and recognize that there is a change of government in the Gambia to which they are expected to demonstrate allegiance to the president elect and his government as the choice of the undiluted will of the people of the Gambia. Similarly we call on all Gambians, the private sector, religious and community leaders as well as youth, women groups and the diplomatic community to provide all necessary support and cooperation to the president elect.

In this regard TANGO wishes to congratulate the president elect for his election victory and to remind him of the solemn trust and confidence of the people reposed in him. We wish to equally congratulate the people of the Gambia who have demonstrated immense maturity and calm in exercising their fundamental right in voting according to their conscience. We call on all citizens to exercise restraint and calm and to pursue peace and reconciliation as we usher in a new government. To the political parties and their leaders and supporters, the media as well as other stakeholders, TANGO wishes to call on them to play a constructive role in moulding together and safeguarding the peace and stability that prevails in the country.

TANGO recognizes and appreciates the tremendous efforts being made by the International Community to help in the maintenance of peace and stability of the country.

Done Tuesday 13th day of December 2016



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