By Olimatou Coker
Essa Mbye Faal, an independent candidate in last week’s presidential election, who initially joined two others to reject the results, yesterday called a press conference in which he revealed that he had called President Barrow and congratulated him on his victory. Faal further stated that his team will not engage in any action that threatens the security, peace and safety of the citizens, and that he will not resort to the courts even though there might be some pitfalls during the process.
“As far as my team is concerned the elections are over, a leader has been elected and we believe it is our responsibility to respect that position and to live and work with it.
“I have called the president-elect, and congratulated him on his re-election and we have had a good conversation about the future of this county. Like I have always said, no single person or a group of people own this country as it belongs to all of us. Therefore, all of us have an equal responsibility in ensuring that it stays together in peace,” he said.
He noted that The Gambia is a very small country with a people all connected in a very significant way. “It is therefore important for people to put aside whatever differences they may have and come together as one people to reinforce and strengthen the peace that we have,” he said.
“As an entity that is just a new entrant to the politics of our country, we will now focus on trying to build our brand to make it more acceptable to the Gambian people and prepare to participate and win future elections,” Faal said.
Commenting further on the election, Faal said: “You all have known that I went to the home of Lawyer Ousainu Darboe where we issued a statement together with the leader of GDC, rejecting the election results. Yes, I did that because I believed at that time, that it was the right thing to do because we believed that the election victory was secured through certain illegal ways including what I called community vote-buying. We have made this complaint consistently throughout the campaign to both domestic and international observers. We have also made the same complaints to the IEC and for that reason, as a lawyer thinking only about illegal issues, my conclusion was that the election results may be true but that result was obtained true means that are prohibited by Gambian law and that is why I participated in issuing that statement. I understand that some have misinterpreted my going there as a coalition, or as an alliance between these political leaders. Let me tell you that there was no alliance or coalition. This was a unique moment in which we had to discuss a particular matter of importance and urgency in the political landscape and it was important that as leaders we did that”, he said.
In addition, Faal said, after signing the statement rejecting the election, they had to come back and further review their evidence which he said was not sufficient.
“I called Hon Mama Kandeh and Hon Darboe and informed them of our decision last night,” he said.