The announcement dampened the enthusiasm that followed the defeat of Jammeh last week. Jammeh even called and congratulated Barrow live on state TV—a poignant moment that was both shocking and filled many Gambians and Africa watchers with hopes of a democratic and peaceful transition of power.

The United States strongly criticized Jammeh’s statement describing it as “a reprehensible and unacceptable breach of faith with the people of The Gambia”.

On Friday night local time (Dec. 9), social media users within the country reported electricity cut-offs and the presence of soldiers in the streets. There is also a growing apprehension over how the opposition led by Barrow will respond, or whether the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or the African Union (AU), should interfere if the situation unfolds into a full-blown crisis.

President Jammeh might have been rattled by the winning coalition’s sentiments this week, who said they were looking to prosecute him within a year. During his 22-year rule, Jammeh made headlines by , carrying out a deadly witch hunt on political opponents and imprisoning journalists and threatening to behead gays.

During and before the elections, there had also been uncertainties that Jammeh would ever accept the results if he was defeated. He was after all the strongman who claimed that he would rule for “one billion years” if “Allah says so.”

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