Alieu Momarr Njai

(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh cannot do anything legally to stop the inauguration of Adama Barrow as president of the Gambia on 19th January, says the chairman of the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Alieu Momarr Njai said Mr Barrow, 51, was duly elected by Gambians in a free and fair election and Mr Jammeh should take the defeat on the chin and move on in the supreme interest of the Gambia.

Tension is high in the Gambia and security officers are put on stand-by after President Jammeh unilaterally annulled the results of the December 1st election which was won by Mr Barrow and called for fresh elections.

Mr Jammeh, 51, who has ruled the Gambia since July 1994 had initially conceded defeat and praised the country’s electoral system as “the most transparent election in the whole world,” adding that he would not contest the result.

He later changed his mind and filed a lawsuit at the supreme court asking it to declare him winner of the elections.

Mr Jammeh said he had pulled more votes in the election than his opposition rival and is asking the court to declared him the duly elected president of the Gambia instead of Adama Barrow.

The case is due to be heard on 10th January 2017 but Mr Njai said Mr Barrow’s inauguration cannot be stopped by Jammeh irrespective of whatever decision the court make.

“It is not ethically right for a supreme court that has been dormant for 20 months to be reactivated simply to preside over the past election results,” he said in an interview with the Dakar based West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR).

“It is unethical. What verdict do you expect them [justices] to give? The constitution of the supreme court is questionable because you don’t constitute a court to address your own case. But what everybody should know and I think Mr Jammeh himself knows this, is that come January 19th, Adama Barrow is going to be sworn-in no matter what the court decides.”

Mr Njai  said Gambians are worried about the simmering political dispute in the country and Mr Jammeh should accept the election results and step down so that he can be remembered for the developments he has brought to the doorsteps of Gambians in the areas of infrastructure, health and education.

He added: “I am worried and everyone in the country is worried about what is going to happen next in this country. We hope and pray that the president will leave in peace so that there will be no military intervention. That is our prayers. As it is, the whole world is supporting Adama Barrow including the locals here such as doctors, teachers, lawyers and students.”