Since Adama Barrow was declared winner of Saturday’s election, the streets have not been peaceful, to say the least. From Kairaba Avenue to Westfield, there have been protests, some of which required the presence of riot police with teargas and water tank to disperse crowds.
On Thursday, we wrote an editorial about a big DECISION we had to make first before heading to the polls on Saturday. We talked about maintaining calm, avoiding violence and provocation.
Those words of advice weren’t meant for only the build-up to the election or even just on election day. We meant BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the presidential election. History teaches us that electoral violence often comes after the results are announced, especially in Africa where people hardly accept election defeat.
The truth is we didn’t follow the advice. Yes, we conducted the election peacefully and freely but we turned into something else after the results were announced. Even before the final results and the winner were announced by the IEC chairman, Alieu Momarr Njai, Ousainu Darboe of UDP, Mamma Kandeh of GDC and independent candidate Essa Faal converged at Darboe’s Pipeline residence to reject the results. The trio, supported by Marie Sock and BB Dabo’s GFA, cited some irregularities and vowed to investigate.
It was 2016 all over again. Jammeh conceded and then reneged. There was impasse during which we all thought of the worst. It is 2021 in New Gambia and the streets have been very unfriendly. Even though Essa Faal changed his mind about pursuing the alleged irregularities, Kandeh and Darboe still insist to go ahead.
While the UDP leader advised his supporters against causing instability, we are heading right into it if things don’t change. The NPP supporters cannot celebrate their victory because UDP supporters remain in the streets. Two of the biggest parties’ supporters clashing in the streets is a recipe for disaster. We call on UDP supporters to remain calm and allow their leadership to follow due process. Otherwise, this country will drift into violence and we will all pay the price. So, keep calm!