By Omar Bah
The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Alieu Momar Njai, has refuted allegations that he connived with Lt Gen Sulayman Badjie to rig the December 2016 presidential elections in favour of the Coalition.
Omar Sanneh, a former soldier and close relative of former president Jammeh in a WhatsApp audio released last week alleged that Gen Badjie was in complot with Njai, Fatoumatta Tambajang and other Coalition leaders to rig the election in favour of the opposition.
He further alleged that his son was attached to the IEC chairman as an orderly and that it was through him that Jammeh’s mother, now deceased, was able to get hold of “the electoral discrepancies”that occurred during the election.
In his response, the IEC chairman said Sanneh’s objective was to start a smear campaign at damaging the good record of the IEC and his person.
“Nowadays, people have the right to say anything they feel like saying. But I can tell you between me and God that I have never connived with anybody to get Yahya Jammeh out. It was Gambians who voted against him and as the referee, I did what I am supposed to do,” Njai clarified.
The IEC chairman said he does not even know Gen Badjie and had never met him in person. He added that the last time he met Fatoumatta Tambajang was during the nomination for the presidential candidates and hadn’t seen her since the elections.
Mr Njai further said although some people went to the IEC offices, but he did not know them “because they have their own means of coming in a way that one could not recognise them.”
“All I know is that they were here and I know they were not with us and you could tell from that their movements at the time they were after something,” he told The Standard yesterday.
Njai said he was convinced that Jammeh was not expecting to lose the election and that the former president had made all efforts to change the will of the Gambian people, “because dictators throughout the world are not easily removed through the ballot box”.
On the paternity of his orderly, Njai said he inherited his orderly from the former IEC chairman and he maintained him until after the elections. I never know who his parents are, but I was very surprised that he fled the country after the election. But for sure he was my orderly up to the time I received information that they were coming for me on the night of the election. Because then Jammeh was trying to convince me to add 25,000 votes to his votes,” he charged.
He said at that moment he was not sure who was passing what information to whom.
“But I always go downstairs where the results where collated from across the country to tell them Jammeh requested me to add 25,000 votes to his votes. I could have done that, but I refused because I know that he had lost and he also knew he had lost”.
He said he was fired by Jammeh as mayor and four years later appointed him again as the IEC chairman “and God says it was going to be through me that he was going to lose the election, but frankly speaking I have no hands in his defeat as I just did my job the rest was by the Gambian people”.
The IEC chairman concluded by reassuring Gambians that his office will ensure that elections in the country will continue to be transparent, fair and accurate.