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Gambian president warns opponent to keep exiled predecessor out of campaign

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By Reuters
Gambian president warns opponent to keep exiled predecessor out of campaign
Gambian president warns opponent to keep exiled predecessor out of campaign   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Pap Saine

BANJUL – Gambian President Adama Barrow has threatened an opponent in next month’s election with legal action for playing audio recordings of exiled former leader Yahya Jammeh at a campaign event.

The coastal West African nation is gearing up for national elections on Dec. 4. Barrow will be running against five other candidates to retain the office he won from Jammeh in 2016.

Jammeh, whose 22-year rule was marked by extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances, fled to Equatorial Guinea in 2017 after refusing to concede to Barrow.

Jammeh spoke via audio message on Monday at a rally for opposition candidate Mama Kandeh, whose candidacy he has endorsed. Kandeh came third in the 2016 polls.

“An alliance between a master and the slave is always a good alliance,” said Jammeh. “Myself and Mama Kandeh would be the best team the Gambia has ever had.”

Barrow said on Tuesday night that Kandeh could face legal action if he continues to play recordings of Jammeh, although he did not say what law this violates.

“I am warning Mamma Kandeh to stay away from inviting Yahya Jammeh in his campaign platforms and I will tell the Independent Electoral Commission to notify Kandeh before we take any action,” Barrow said at a campaign event.

Barrow’s candidacy is controversial in its own right. He initially said he would only serve as a transitional leader for three years but later reversed course and decided to stand for re-election.