Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, is to concede defeat to real-estate businessman Adama Barrow, in a historic election that was marred with reports of threats and arbitrary arrests by the dictator’s administration.
Gambia‘s electoral commission announced on Friday that the dictator was to concede defeat after Barrow was found to have around 44% of the vote against Jammeh’s 40%, Reuters reports.
Barrow had seven opposition parties unite behind his presidential-run. The 51-year-old— who once worked as a security guard in London while he completed his studies— is against the lack of a two-term limit on the presidency, promotes an independent judiciary, freedom for civil society and the media, the BBC reports.
The shocking results from Gambians seeking out change comes after a total blackout of the internet and international calls, as well as the sealing of the land borders in the West African country.
In the run-up to Thursday’s vote, Jammeh also allegedly used state resources to control state media in order to secure an advantage in the elections, says Human Rights Watch. Authorities also “threatened, arbitrarily arrested, jailed, and tortured members of opposition political parties” says HRW.
Gambia has not seen a smooth transfer of power since its independence in 1965 and Jammeh has been in power for 22 years.