UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday condemned the military takeover of Gambia’s independent electoral commission, calling on the army and police forces to immediately leave the IEC’s offices.
The seizure of the IEC on Tuesday came after President Yahya Jammeh refused to recognize electoral defeat and accused the election body of vote-tampering.
Ban expressed “dismay” over the takeover, saying he “condemns this outrageous act of disrespect of the will of the Gambian people,” his spokesman said in a statement.
Outgoing Gambian President Yahya Jammeh speaking during a press conference after being defeated during the presidential election on December 3, 2016 ©Handout (GRTS – Gambia Radio and Television Services/AFP/File)
“This action violates the independent status of the IEC under the Gambian constitution, and could compromise the sensitive electoral material under the commission’s custody,” he added.
“He calls on the Gambian military and security forces to immediately vacate the IEC premises and to refrain from any further acts with the intent to jeopardize efforts toward the peaceful transfer of power.”
The UN chief renewed his appeal for Jammeh, Gambia’s leader for 22 years, to hand over power to President-elect Adama Barrow.
A UN envoy joined a delegation of African leaders in Banjul this week to press for a transfer of power, but Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said no deal had been reached following talks with Jammeh and Barrow.
The Security Council on Saturday released a unanimous statement demanding that Jammeh “transfer, without condition and undue delay, power to President-elect Adama Barrow.”