The Gambia 2016 presidential election is set to begin, and those looking for live results of Thursday’s voting will be left with few options as the president led a controversial decision to cut off communications with the outside world.
Voting will take place on December 1, and live results can be found at a few different sources (links to live election results can be found below). But these results could likely be disrupted with the nation’s communications streams shut down.
This appears to be a historic election in the Western African nation. After surging to power in a bloodless coup in 1994, President Yahya Jammeh seems to be headed out of power as challenger Adama Barrow has surged to a lead in pre-election polls. As The Guardian reported, a widespread economic crisis and high unemployment have energized younger voters to oust Jammeh from power.
Those looking for Gambia 2016 election live results may find some difficulty connecting with the outside world. The nation’s government “switched off its telecommunication gateway from the outside world” ahead of Thursday’s election, Freedom Newspaper reported. The report noted that Gamtel turned off its international call gateway, leaving those in other countries unable to reach relatives in Gambia.
The newspaper, a partisan outlet that referred to the president as “Gambia’s unhinged dictator Yahya Jammeh,” claimed that the plan to turn off communications was part of a greater plot to rig the presidential election.
“The intercepted circular spelt out a game plan designed by the dictator to keep Gambians both at home and abroad from reporting happenings on elections day. Our trusted and dependable sources at Gamtel have alerted us about Jammeh’s plans to rig the polls and cover up the atrocities he intends to wage against the opposition.”
That means that those looking for live results from the 2016 Gambia election could find difficulty, but international organizations are putting pressure on Gambia to reverse its decision to cut off communications. A coalition of internet freedom advocacy groups wrote an open letter condemning the decision to throttle Gambia’s internet, calling on the president to keep lines of communication open during the election.
“We are writing to urgently request that you ensure the stability and openness of the internet during the forthcoming elections in Gambia on December 1. Elections represent the most critical moment in a democracy, and the internet enables free expression and the fulfillment of all human rights.
“However, we have received unconfirmed reports through a variety of sources that your government intends to shut down the internet. We implore you to keep the internet on.”
While it’s not clear whether there is any truth to the reports of election interference, Jammeh has sparked international controversy in the past for his actions while in office. Back in 2013, he said during an address to the United Nations General Assembly that gays were a threat to human existence and criticized other countries for equating homosexuality with human rights.
“Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence. It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior,” he said (via Reuters).
“Homosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which, though very evil, anti-human as well as anti-Allah, is being promoted as a human right by some powers,” he added.
Yahya Jammeh has gotten into trouble for other comments, including claims in 2007 that he found a remedy of boiled herbs that could cure AIDS. In 2008, he reportedly told gays and lesbians to leave the country or face beheading. Jammeh has also faced accusation of election interference in the past, including reports that voters were intimidated and others turned away from polling stations in 2011.
[Featured Image by Jerome Delay/AP Images]