After the case filed by Gambia's outgoing President Yahya Jammeh, who is seeking to annul the results of the country's presidential elections, was adjourned on Wednesday (21 December) by the nation's top court, Jammeh said that he would wait for the court ruling until January 10 before ceding power.
The country's apex court adjourned the case as the chief defendant of the case – Gambia's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) – had not been summoned to attend.
After staying in power for 22 years Jammeh lost the election on 1 December to opposition candidate Adama Barrow. Barrow is set to be inaugurated on 19 January.
Jammeh initially conceded the election defeat but a week later said that he rejected the results of the election and filed a court case. His petition to the court is about alleged irregularities in the ballot count by IEC and also charges that his supporters were intimidated in one region.
"My rights cannot be violated and intimidated to a point where I succumb to blackmail. Unless the court decides the case, there will be no inauguration (of Barrow) on the 19 January," the 51-year-old strong man said in a televised address.
"What we are asking for is not for the IEC (Independent Election Commission) to declare me the winner, I cannot do that. will not cheat but I will not be cheated. Justice must be done and the only way justice can be done is to reorganise the election so that every Gambian votes. That's the only way we can resolve the matter peacefully and fairly." he added.
In the monologue, he denounced the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc and other powers for intervening in Gambian political affairs. He further elaborated saying, "ECOWAS is trying to force me out. It will not happen... And let me see what ECOWAS and those big powers behind them can do."
According to an AFP report, Jammeh has bought time by taking his case to the apex court. Interestingly, all the judges of the top court except chief justice Emmanuel Fagbenle were sacked under the president's orders. And, according to court sources six foreign judges, not including chief justice Fagbenle, have been appointed by the president to serve on the apex court. Out of the seven on the panel, at least five judges will hear the petition filed by Jammeh, the AFP report added.