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In Challenge of Results, Gambia's Jammeh Says Only 'Allah' Can Deprive Him of Victory

  • VOA Staff

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh arrives at a polling station with his wife, Zineb, during the presidential election in Banjul, Gambia, Dec. 1, 2016.

Gambia's longtime president Yahya Jammeh says only “almighty Allah” can deprive him of victory as he seeks to overturn the results of this month's presidential election.

Opposition candidate Adama Barrow beat Jammeh in the December 1 election. Jammeh graciously conceded defeat at first, but now contends there were voter irregularities, and he has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the vote.

“I will not be intimidated by any power in this world,” Jammeh said on nationwide television. “I want to make sure that justice is done. I am a man of peace but I cannot be a coward.”

Jammeh urged to concede

The U.N. Security Council, the African Union and the economic union of West Africa (ECOWAS) all have urged Jammeh to accept his defeat and turn over power to Barrow.

Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow, left, speaks to members of the media in Banjul, Gambia, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.
Gambia President-elect Adama Barrow, left, speaks to members of the media in Banjul, Gambia, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Jammeh, who took power in a coup in 1994 and has served as president since then, has blasted other West African leaders who urged him to step aside, saying they have no right to tell him what to do.

Hearing set for January 10

The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on Jammeh's appeal for January 10, nine days before he is supposed to give up power.

Following the military coup that elevated him to power, Jammeh won four subsequent elections that critics said were neither free nor fair. Human-rights experts say the president has used violence and intimidation to silence his opposition.

Tens of thousands of Gambians have either sought asylum overseas or have taken extremely dangerous sea journeys to try to reach Europe.

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