Photographer's Note

Pictire taken on the 2nd of Deember at the street in Banjul.

Presidential elections were held in the Gambia on 1 December 2016. In a surprise result, opposition candidate Adama Barrow defeated long-term incumbent Yahya Jammeh. The election marked the first change of presidency in The Gambia since a military coup in 1994, and the first transfer of power by popular election since independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.

On 2 December, before the final results were announced, Jammeh graciously conceded defeat, shocking a populace that had expected him to retain power. BBC News called it "one of the biggest election upsets West Africa has ever seen". The final official results showed Barrow winning a 43.3% plurality, achieving a 3.7% margin of victory over Jammeh's 39.6% – with a third candidate, Mamma Kandeh, receiving 17.1% of the votes. Following the election, 19 opposition prisoners were released, including Ousainou Darboe, the leader of Barrow's United Democratic Party (UDP). There was widespread celebration of the result by the opposition, along with some caution over whether the transition would proceed without incident.

However, on 9 December, Jammeh announced that he was rejecting the results and called for a new election, sparking a constitutional crisis. Troops were deployed in Banjul, the capital city, and Serekunda, the country's largest city. Jammeh's rejection of the results was condemned by several internal and external bodies, including the Gambia bar association, the Gambia teachers' union, the Gambia Press Union, the University of The Gambia, the Gambia medical association, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The situation further escalated, despite extensive diplomatic efforts that included the personal involvement of several African heads of state, until a military intervention by armed forces from several nearby ECOWAS countries. Finally, on 21 January, Jammeh left the Gambia for an ECOWAS-arranged exile, allowing the transition of power to take place. According to the Senegalese government and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, during the dispute around 45,000 people fled to Senegal and at least another 800 people fled to Guinea-Bissau.


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Additional Photos by Leszek Stefaniuk (jabumbum) Silver Note Writer [C: 4 W: 0 N: 428] (1310)
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