GIMPA FACULTY OF LAW
FACULTY SEMINAR SERIES
The GIMPA Faculty of Law invites you to our Faculty Seminar Series (FSS).
MR. EDMUND AMARKWEI FOLEY – Lecturer, GIMPA Faculty of Law
TITLE OF PAPER:
THE GAMBIAN ELECTORAL CRISIS: A HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE?
Wednesday, 12th April, 2017
4:30pm – 6:00pm
Faculty of Law, Moot Court Auditorium
MRS. BRIGITTE AINUSON– Lecturer, GIMPA Faculty of Law
All are cordially invited.
The Gambian Electoral Crisis: A Human Rights Perspective
Edmund Amarkwei Foley
In December 2016, Gambians went to the polls to elect a new President. The months leading up to the elections had been characterised with bold attempts by the Gambian populace to demand a better democratic culture in the country and economic development which had waned under President YahyaJammeh. The voices of opposition were unsurprisingly met with force from the repressive and dictatorial regime of Jammeh, notably the incarceration of leading opposition leader, OusainooDarboe and the death in detention of Solo Sandeng. The elections were therefore billed as a turning point for the Gambian, a ‘make-or-break’ decider for the future of the country. At the end of the polls, an unknown political figure, Adama Barrow, on whom the lot fell to lead the coalition of opposition forces, emerged as the winner. The atmosphere in the country was euphoric, yet one of caution as Gambians and the world waited with bated breath to hear Jammeh’s response to his defeat. Jammeh publicly accepted defeat and congratulated Adama Barrow, pledging his support. The feared despot was praised for his show of statesmanship and his commitment to ensuring a smooth and democratic transition. The skeptics were however not convinced and were soon proved right when Jammeh made a U-turn and refused to accept the results, retracting his earlier concession. He argued that he had uncovered some evidence showing irregularities in the polls. The ensuing days were to witness a series of interesting events: closure of the Electoral Commission’s Office and placing it under guard, the flight of the Electoral Commission Chair into exile in Senegal, filing of an election petition in Gambia’s Supreme Court by Jammeh, declaration of a state of emergency by Jammeh with the fiat of the National Assembly and a flurry of diplomatic activity by ECOWAS and the AU to get Jammeh to leave office peacefully by 18th January, 2017. With a cocktail of peaceful negotiations, threat of military intervention and unity of purpose by the triad of ECOWAS, AU and UN, Jammeh flew out of the Gambia to Equatorial Guinea with his ‘presidential effects’ on the eve of 18th January 2017 as his successor was being sworn into office at the Gambian Embassy in Dakar, Senegal next door.
This paper evaluates the Gambian election and its aftermath, leading up to the exit of one of African’s longest reigning leaders, YahyaJammeh. The evaluation is done from a rights-based perspective, focusing on contextualising the right to vote and the right to participate in one’s government as provided for in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), both of which have been ratified by The Gambia. The paper then takes a critical look at the issue of implementation of human rights and argues the pros and cons of the intervention by the triad (ECOWAS, AU and UN), in enforcing this right, both overtly and tangentially.
Please send any suggestions, requests to sponsor, etc to any of the following:
Mr. Kofi Abotsi – (Dean, Faculty of Law):firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Clara B. Kasser-Tee – (Chairperson, Seminar Committee): email@example.com
Mr. Edmund Foley – (Member, Seminar Committee): firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Victor Brobbey - (Member, Seminar Committee): email@example.com