Defeated Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has again vowed not to leave office at the end of his mandate in January, saying a court must first rule on his challenge to the outcome of a hotly disputed election.
Jammeh, 51, who has been in power for 22 years, has rejected opposition candidate Adama Barrow’s shock victory in the December 1 vote.
His stance has stoked international concerns about the future of the small West African country, with the UN joining African leaders in calling for him to step down.
“Unless the court decides the case, there will be no inauguration (of Barrow) on the 19 January,” said Jammeh, who had initially conceded defeat but then lodged a complaint with the country’s Supreme Court to overturn the result.
“I will not cheat, but I will not be cheated,” he said in a lengthy television address late Tuesday.
“What we are asking for is not for the Independent Election Commission to declare me the winner, I cannot do that,” he said.
“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.”
Jammeh also took aim at the West African regional ECOWAS bloc which has called on him to accept the results and refrain from any action that could compromise the peaceful transfer of power.