By Gaby Ndongo
Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, has surprised critics after he wished newly elected president Adama Barrow good luck with his presidency two days after the country’s 1st of December election.
“I’m calling you to wish you all the best. The Gambian people have spoken. The country will be in your hands in January and you’re assured of my guidance in your transition,” President Jammeh is reported to have said to Barrow in a phone call.
This is a move that surprised critics because just two days earlier, on the day of the elections the Gambian government shut down the Internet preventing its citizens from communicating online.
During the election period, President Jammeh warned the Gambian people against protesting as a call for peace. President Jammeh, had in the past stated that he would not hold office for long and that he would only stay for the sake of peace and security after the government was overthrown in 1994.
Now after 22 years of a Jammeh led government in the West African nation, the opposition led by Barrow has finally brought an end to the former military leader’s rule. Barrow secured over 50,000 votes from the electorate winning the election. In accordance with his firm belief in peace, President Jammeh has accepted the loss and is ready to hand over power.
In a similar act of peace Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan also conceded his loss to Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015. Jonathan became the first Nigerian sitting president to do so, allowing Nigeria to be led by a civilian. This act of peace along with Jammeh’s concession is thought to have set the tone for peaceful political activity in Africa.